Penguin Unafraid of eBooks

Many publishers are taking a conservative approach to eBook publishing, mostly because of fear that digital books will adversely affect the sale of print editions. This is especially true in reference book publishing. Recently though, more book publishers are looking eBooks square in the eye. The fears are being allayed by a developing customer channel.

Penguin, the publishing house, will release new “ebooks” at the same time as it produces a print edition in order to feed a growing demand for digital books.

Pearson, the UK media group which owns Penguin, said that books from the publishing house, from its travel division and from the Dorling Kindersley brand, will be available to download from its website and from digital retailers from September.

The electronically-available books will come out at the same time as the print editions and will cost the same.

The simultaneous release of both eBook and print editions is significant. Most publishers who have jumped into the eBook market have released backlist titles so as not to divert attention from their frontlist. Penguin is signaling that they believe the digital market can coexist with the print market, not take away from it. For those publishers who are still timid, Penguin’s strategy will be something to watch closely.

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