Ballantine will publish a 6,000-word digital short story from Steve Berry in September for $1.99 that bridges to his November 23 book release THE EMPEROR’S TOMB. The WSJ calls it “a literary appetizer, inexpensive enough to attract potential readers who might otherwise not be willing to buy a new novel from an author whose works they haven’t yet read.” Matt Schwartz at Random House says, “realistically, it would be hard to get something like this in print. But the e-book format is very flexible. What this does is offer an affordable entry point into Steve’s world.”
In the press release, he adds: “One of the things e-books can do is serve as ‘interval reading’ as fans anticipate the next hardcover. In the past year we have seen Steve Berry’s e-book sales more than double and know his digital fans have connected with his books in a powerful way. With the attractive price point and the focus on Cassiopeia Vitt, a character who has proven to be a fan favorite, we hope to draw further attention to the Steve Berry Ballantine backlist, boost pre-orders to the hardcover, and introduce Steve Berry to an expanding audience.”
The same article covers another “bridge” work from Harlequin Teen, which will first give away and then sell for $2.99 Julie Kagawa’s 15,000-word novella Winter’s Passage, which links her February debut novel The Iron King and her forthcoming July release The Iron Daughter. Harlequin’s Malle Vallik says “the purpose is to keep her audience interested while building their excitement for the next book.”
A Sesame Street eBookstore has gone live today, offering subscription access to a library of over 100 chilren’s books for $39.99 a year. Sesame Workshop svp of worldwide media distribution Scott Chambers calls it “an important step forward in bringing our 40-year library of children’s books to the next generation of young readers.” He adds, “we want to deliver our content to young readers in the formats they are engaging with on a daily basis.” The initiative is managed for them by Impelsys.