Random House (of the layoffs, pension freezing, and losing of big authors) has seen a digital light at the end of the economic tunnel. Apparently, ebook sales have increased by triple digit percentages in 2008 and thus Random House will be digitizing like mad to increase that part of the market. Currently, the publisher's ebook catalog is at 8,000 titles but in the next few months, it should be near 15,000. The growth comes from the digitization of backlist titles. The entire catalog will be available in the ePub standard where it joins Hachette and Harlequin (I think) in helping to confirm one standard format for the industry. (Now if they could only get their act together and have one uniform DRM for the industry).
As a side benefit to the digitization will be the ability to view a portion of the title before purchase at Random House's website. HarperCollins
unveiled a similar feature last week which allows readers to view up to 20% of a title for free, online.