Simon&Schuster and Harlequin are experimenting with an early release digital program whereby readers can buy the ebook version of a print book a month in advance. What’s more is that these ebooks are often sold at a discount. Simon & Schuster sells its ebooks at 35% off the cover price making regular mass markets available for less than $4.00 per copy.
Harlequin is doing one better, though. Instead of offering just one or two ebooks, its entire ebook catalog is being offered a month early at 10% off. I don’t want to cause a stampede to the Harlequin site, but New York Times Bestselling author, Linda Howard’s return to Harlequin debuts in May. This means her ebook should be available from Harlequin any day now. What is available now is USA Today Bestselling Author, Kresley Cole’s If You Desire and Harlequin Historical May releases.
In some ways, Harlequin and S&S are democraticizing the book review process by letting anyone who reads and is willing to buy books take an early peek thereby empowering the reader to go out and help a book sell many more print copies.
I love this idea and hope to see more publishers follow the lead of Harlequin and Simon & Schuster.