The Wall Street Journal had a revealing interview with publishing bigwig John Makinson. You may recall the Penguin CEO from his Op-Ed in favor of the agency pricing scheme for ebooks that started with the untruth that Apple's iBooks would have the Harry Potter series. Whoops. Today he is explaining that the big book publishers might release some cheap ebooks - just not any real good ones.
WSJ: The Amazon Kindle best-seller list is dominated by cheap, self-published titles, often priced at $2.99 or less. How much of a threat to traditional publishers are these self-published works?
Mr. Makinson: This is a new market that can't exist economically in print. You can't manufacture, ship and store a book at those prices. But we as publishers probably need to participate. We'll look at new content that maybe we can popularize in different ways. We'll also look at our backlist. Maybe there are customers for westerns at $1.99. What we need to be really careful of is ensuring that this new market doesn't compromise the sales of Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell and Ken Follett.
-WSJ, May 9, 2011
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