“Why are we still not bundling e-books?”
In this article Alex Crowley wonders why bundling e-books with their print counterparts has not become common practice among book sellers. He mentions that it has been done successfully by Angry Robot, but none of the big publishers have followed suit, other than an initial attempt by Barnes and Noble in 2010. Crowley concludes the article by asking what many people seem to be wondering as well. What exactly are the reasons keeping large retailers from bundling?
Joy Hawley published a response on Publishing Perspectives that delves farther into the potential future of bundling e-books and print versions.
“Ghost in the Machine: Does Print + E-Book Publishing Have a Future?
Hawley begins by discussing the pros and cons of bundling. The benefits are the convenience of being able to purchase an e-book and a print book at the same time as well as the added value that comes with adding an e-book to a print book. The potential negative would be that bundling would be seen as a “deal” and therefore would mean selling the e-book at a discount.
Hawley, like Crowley, also discusses that some have already found success with bundling. Some presses are already selling e-book/print bundles with great response, but are choosing to sell bundles directly to readers instead of through retailers. Other companies using forms of bundling are BitLit, University of Kentucky Press, and some German publishers.
The article ends with an expressed desire to see bundling used more widely in the future to “give readers the best of both worlds”
I personally would also like to see e-books bundled with print copies of books in the future. I love the convenience of e-readers, but I still love my print books too. I would agree with Hawley that it would be nice to have the best of both worlds, without having to choose between print and e-book versions, or even to pay full price for both. I can certainly see the dilemma for how to make bundling a viable option, however. Codes for the e-books printed inside of the print versions would be too easy to steal, and taking pictures with purchased print books to claim the e-book version (as is being used by some of the smaller presses) is not feasible on the large scale. Hopefully as the e-book market continues to grow however, bundling will lie in its future.