5 Replies Latest reply on Feb 29, 2012 11:57 AM by Doug_Pardee

    Half an e-book published ahead of paper edition

    Doug_Pardee

      O...kay... this should be an interesting experiment.

       

      Thomas Nelson has released the first half of Beth Wiseman's new (non-Amish) novel, Need You Now, at a price of 99 cents:

      Need You Now, Part 1

       

      Later, you can buy the other half:

      Need You Now, Part 2

       

      The list price for that half is $10.99, discounted to $8.79 (pre-order). When combined with the 99-cent first half, that's $9.78.

       

      The whole e-book is available for pre-order at $10.39 discount (from $15.99 list):

      Need You Now

       

      Amazon is taking pre-orders for the whole e-book at $9.99. Amazon's prices for the two half-e-books are the same as B&N's.

       

      Both Amazon and B&N are showing that the Part 2 e-book is to be released March 28, but Thomas Nelson's press release says, "In mid-April, the second half of the eBook, the full eBook and the physical tradepaper book will be available for sale." (Amazon and B&N both show April 10 for the whole e-book).

       

      As noted in that quote, the book will also be released in trade paperback:

      Need You Now

       

      The paperback is list priced at $15.99, the same as the e-book, and B&N's discount price is $11.38, or 99 cents more than the e-book, with a fulfillment date of April 11 instead of April 10. Amazon has the paperback pre-order at $10.87, 88 cents more than the e-book, but without a fulfillment date specified.

       

       

      Did any of this make any sense to anybody?

       

        • Re: Half an e-book published ahead of paper edition
          MacMcK1957

          Well, the dizzying array of possible pricing configurations pretty much all end up around the same final total, roughly $10.

           

          Selling you the first half for 99 cents in order to reel you in and get you to spend the other $9 once you're invested in the story could be a smart marketing move.  If the first half is compelling enough. 

           

          I've downloaded 99-cent specials and been impressed enough to then pay $9-$10 for the next entry in a series.

            • Re: Half an e-book published ahead of paper edition
              keriflur

              This is an interesting strategy.  It's a little convoluted, IMO, and I'm wondering why they need to release the entire first half as opposed to doing teaser chapters for free, like a lot of publishers are doing.  I would love to know the motivation.  I wonder if something significant happens near the midpoint, or if they feel the first couple chapters aren't compelling enough, or if they simply believe that this strategy will result in a higher overall profit.

                • Re: Half an e-book published ahead of paper edition
                  MacMcK1957

                  keriflur wrote:

                  This is an interesting strategy.  It's a little convoluted, IMO, and I'm wondering why they need to release the entire first half as opposed to doing teaser chapters for free, like a lot of publishers are doing.  I would love to know the motivation.  I wonder if something significant happens near the midpoint, or if they feel the first couple chapters aren't compelling enough, or if they simply believe that this strategy will result in a higher overall profit.


                  I'd almost be willing to bet on a serious cliffhanger at the end of the first half, where the heroine has been shot and left for dead, and framed for murder, while being demonized as a psychotic killer lesbian in the Swedish national press.  Oh, wait a minute, that's a different book.

                   

                  I suspect that the people who would have bought the whole book will still end up doing so.  In addition, you'll get some people who will download the 99 cent first half on a lark and then get hooked enough to buy the second half at, effectively, full book price.  Pure gravy.  I don't see a downside unless the first half were actually awful and turned off buyers who might otherwise have bought the whole book.

                    • Re: Half an e-book published ahead of paper edition
                      keriflur

                      MacMcK1957 wrote:
                      I suspect that the people who would have bought the whole book will still end up doing so.  In addition, you'll get some people who will download the 99 cent first half on a lark and then get hooked enough to buy the second half at, effectively, full book price.  Pure gravy.  I don't see a downside unless the first half were actually awful and turned off buyers who might otherwise have bought the whole book.

                      Right, but I would suspect that if they offered the first few chapters for free and did away with the whole "buy the first half and then the second half", they'd get a lot more eyes on those first chapters.  Just my guess, though, I've got no numbers to support it.

                • Re: Half an e-book published ahead of paper edition
                  Doug_Pardee

                  Setting aside the odd pricings and the mis-matched release dates, my guess is that this is a way for Thomas Nelson to gauge how well this title will sell. Wiseman is known for her Amish stories, and this novel is a change for her. So... sell the first half at "impulse buy" prices to give readers a chance to seriously sample Wiseman's work on a non-Amish story, and to try to hook them on this novel. Then see how many people pre-order the second half.

                   

                  It also provides an opportunity for "buzz" to develop around the novel, without having sold the whole novel. I'm assuming that Thomas Nelson does intend for Part 2 to be released April 10. In that case, the sales of Part 2, of the whole e-book, and of the paperback will all contribute to the crucially-important "first week's sales" figures. Figures that Thomas Nelson probably hopes will be pumped up by positive buzz based on Part 1.