Over a year after first announcing John Grisham’s intention to release his backlist in ebook editions, today Knopf Doubleday put on sale ebook versions of all twenty-three of Grisham’s titles. They are available in the US and Canada. The publisher also confirmed that Grisham’s new book, coming this October, will be another legal thriller.
Separately, when David Baldacci’s new book DELIVER US FROM EVIL is released on April 20, Hachette Book Group’s editions will include an “enriched” electronic version they’re calling the Writer’s Cut eBook. In the release, HBG ceo David Young says, “For David Baldacci’s fans, this is a chance to see his creative process revealed, and deepen the connection with an author they love to read. This enhanced eBook is the perfect marriage of innovation and great storytelling.”
Baldacci tells the AP, “I want people to have a great experience and give them a behind-the-scenes look at what I do, the way you would have it on a DVD.” Priced at $15.99, a dollar above the starting list price of the regular ebook (which would go to $12.99 after hitting the bestseller list), the enhancements include an alternate ending to the story, deleted passages, an audio interview, video of Baldacci at work, and research photos taken by the author. Thus it will work on ebook platforms that handle video and color, but “Hachette is still working on the enriched version and is unsure of its availability” on eInk screens.
Baldacci also indicates that, though he received some negative online reader “reviews” last when when the ebook of FIRST FAMILY was selling initially for more than $15, sales followed the general increase in the market: “I just saw the royalty statements for ‘First Family,’ and sales for the e-book were up 400 percent over the e-book of my previous novels. It was a very vocal minority that was upset and at the end of the day it didn’t have any impact.”
In an online interview with Charlotte Abbott on Friday, Young and HBG svp of digital Maja Thomas indicated that the company is working with many of their biggest authors–including Stephenie Meyer, James Patterson, Michael Connelly, Brad Meltzer and others–on a variety of experimental enhanced ebooks. Thomas noted “some of it is platform-specific, and some of it is platform agnostic,” adding, “we’ll have to see in the next few months how much the consumer loves what we have done.” Calling it “a very exiting and dynamic time,” Young emphasized the importance of now “having direct feedback from our readers,” adding that “boy, do we hear from them.”
In the interview, they also said that the company has digitized and made available as ebooks 90 percent of the books on their list that lend themselves to current electronic formats. When it come to electronic rights and royalties, Young said “we certainly have one or two issues around that, but it is literally a handful of authors where we are still having to negotiate those rights with agents.” He also noted that “some of our authors do not want to appear in this format, and that’s absolutely their prerogative.” For more quotes and reflections from the interview, Mike Shatzkin writes about it on his blog.