Publishers of print books have been struggling for control in the new world of publishing. Borders has gone by the wayside in the aftermath of the shift to digital publishing and presently publishers maintain control over pricing for e-books. However, attempts to increase revenue through adding extra features has not been very successful. As John Makinson, CEO of Penguin Books, explains consumer reaction to paying for added features, “‘Well, that’s marvelous but that’s not something I’m going to pay for….'”
(left: Random House offices, NYC)
A different aspect of the publishing battles being waged in the industry is apparent in Amazon’s Prime loyalty program for Kindle customers which allows users to choose a free book every month. Several of the larger publishers have flatly refused to join. Worries about piracy, intellectual property, and revenue are only some of the complex issues troubling publishing houses.
For now, book publishers have fared better than the music business regarding the thorny issues of ownership and compensation. It remains to be seen for just how long they can keep doing so.