HarperCollins in talks to offer content for Apple's tablet

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2014
Apple and publisher HarperCollins are reportedly conducting talks over possible e-book offerings for Apple's new tablet device, with pricing that would follow the current App Store model.



The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that HarperCollins may offer enhanced e-books containing video, author interviews, and social-networking applications. These releases could command a higher price than the current e-book standard of $9.99 for a typical bestseller.



It is unknown as of now if the e-books would be offered though the existing iTunes store or if a specialized e-book storefront would be created.



"Amazon created the e-book market by making the $9.99 price for best sellers an integral part of its introduction of the Kindle e-book reader in November 2007," the report said. "But the Kindle lacks color and video capabilities, two elements that are likely to be crucial to the future of enhanced e-books.



"Amazon could be shut out of enhanced e-books until the Kindle offers those features. The standard Kindle costs $259, however, while analysts expect Apple's tablet to cost about $1,000."



Early last month, it was reported that Apple was offering publishers a deal that would allow them to release their content on other online stores, such as Amazon's Kindle or the forthcoming multi-publisher digital storefront that would offer content from Conde Nast, Hearst, News Corp., Time, and Meredith for use on portable digital devices. It was reported then that Apple was planning on splitting the revenue 30/70 (Apple/publisher), compared to the 50/50 split offered by Amazon for publishing to its Kindle e-reader.



Monday, Apple released invitations to a Jan. 27 event taking place in San Francisco, during which it is believed that the tablet will be introduced. In December, certain iPhone developers were reportedly asked to prepare full-screen demos for the tablet unveiling. Various reports indicate that the tablet will not be available for sale until later this year, most likely around March.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 50
    ajitmdajitmd Posts: 365member
    Any opinions on the Mirasol Display? For the Apple tablet or even Kindle?
  • Reply 2 of 50
    dave k.dave k. Posts: 1,306member
    I really, really hope that Apple won't release a $1000 tablet...
  • Reply 3 of 50
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    Of the literally hundreds of books in my house today, I don't know that I have any from a HarperCollins imprint.
  • Reply 4 of 50
    bdkennedy1bdkennedy1 Posts: 1,459member
    Kindle profits are about to go down.
  • Reply 5 of 50
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Not to denigrate the efforts of any of the fine programmers who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into creating e-reader apps... but I'm really hoping Apple provides us little fish with some sort of framework for making it easy to make a nice ebook.
  • Reply 6 of 50
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by bdkennedy1 View Post


    Kindle profits are about to go down.



    I?m not sure they are that high to begin with. Has Amazin ever broke out the Kindle sales? They say it?s the number item on their store, but it?s also the only the place to buy it.
  • Reply 7 of 50
    An ebook display. Ohh.... Ahh...



    Whatever lame single-purpose tablet Apple releases, I know I'll still be happier with my 3 year old MacBook.
  • Reply 8 of 50
    gazoobeegazoobee Posts: 3,754member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ... HarperCollins may offer enhanced e-books containing video, author interviews, and social-networking applications. These releases could command a higher price than the current e-book standard of $9.99 for a typical bestseller. ...



    if this is what they are thinking, then they are thinking wrong.



    No way is an electronic book, (*any* electronic book), worth more than ten bucks or so. Media companies have to start to realise that electronic products are not worth the same as their real world counterparts.
  • Reply 9 of 50
    I agree about the $10 price point for e-books, but if this supports author interviews/other multimedia/exclusive content, I could live with a $5-$10 increase, depending on title and extra content offered.



    I don't see how they could pull off an e-reader app of that magnitude if it's truly running a glorified iPhone OS build, though. They might call it that, but with a multitouch iWork rumored to be coming, I'd say it's closer to a lower-end OS X. Apple just won't call it that because "lower-end" is not a phrase they want to be associated with.
  • Reply 10 of 50
    ronboronbo Posts: 669member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    No way is an electronic book, (*any* electronic book), worth more than ten bucks or so. Media companies have to start to realise that electronic products are not worth the same as their real world counterparts.



    I remember the first time I ever had to buy a $100 book. That was a long time ago, and now I own books that cost $300. They're professional textbooks, and the price has less to do about gouging than it does market size and costs of production. Not all markets are the same. And if a company produces an electronic book that people will pay more than $10 for, then it'll have been worth more than $10 by the only definition of "worth" that matters.
  • Reply 11 of 50
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    if this is what they are thinking, then they are thinking wrong.



    No way is an electronic book, (*any* electronic book), worth more than ten bucks or so. Media companies have to start to realise that electronic products are not worth the same as their real world counterparts.



    I strongly disagree and suspect you are thinking of novels, nothing more. There are plenty non-fiction books that are sold for, and in my opinion, worth more than $10.



    Being digital does drop the cost of publication. While there is other distribution costs for using iTunes eBook standard or whatever and paying Apple 30% for the hosting does need to be factored in, publishers also have to adjust the price for the amount of piracy that will occur, with or without DRM.
  • Reply 12 of 50
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    if this is what they are thinking, then they are thinking wrong.



    No way is an electronic book, (*any* electronic book), worth more than ten bucks or so. Media companies have to start to realise that electronic products are not worth the same as their real world counterparts.



    I would agree for most pieces of fiction, but I see quite a few areas where non-fiction books could really be worth more than their printed editions. Interactive illustrations and videos, direct links to Web searches and Wikipedia, updates incorporating errata (try to have a class of 50 people manually updating errors in e.g. a programming textbook over time, it is a nightmare), easy to project... I really do not see a book costing 80-200 bucks in print selling for 9.99 despite offering more. Just think of all the books with periodical updates used in literally all companies (e.g. on human resource management and laws, tax matters, occupational safety, environmental regulations, quality management, etc.) ? we spend more than 20 man-months each year just updating these binders and recording these updates... even at the full price of the print edition, an electronic version would still save us a fortune.
  • Reply 13 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by dreyfus2 View Post


    I would agree for most pieces of fiction, but I see quite a few areas where non-fiction books could really be worth more than their printed editions. Interactive illustrations and videos, direct links to Web searches and Wikipedia, updates incorporating errata (try to have a class of 50 people manually updating errors in e.g. a programming textbook over time, it is a nightmare), easy to project... I really do not see a book costing 80-200 bucks in print selling for 9.99 despite offering more. Just think of all the books with periodical updates used in literally all companies (e.g. on human resource management and laws, tax matters, occupational safety, environmental regulations, quality management, etc.) ? we spend more than 20 man-months each year just updating these binders and recording these updates... even at the full price of the print edition, an electronic version would still save us a fortune.



    The average price of every book purchased is going to come down as we shift more toward e-books as the average selling price of e-books will continue to be lower than their printed counterparts. However, depending on the final average selling price of the e-book and the revenue share Apple (and others) provide margins for the publishers could stay relatively stable at a somewhat lower level in the digital world than they are in the printed world. Production costs will come down significantly as we shift to digital books. Shipping will also be reduced significantly.



    Amazon has never provided Kindle sales because they likely aren't huge even if they do doinate the e-book market. At this point we are looking at a relatively small market compared to what it will one day become. The tablet could rapidly expand this market and take a dominant market share right off the bat.



    As for the guy who mentioned that he doesn't have any HarperCollins books on his shelves, that simply doesn't matter. They are one of the major publishers out there and they simply happen to be the first one linked to the tablet. They will not be the last and I suspect Apple already has deals in place with a few of the majors, or will in the very near future (ie. before the tablet hits the market in March).



    And everyone needs to remember that while the tablet will likely change the e-book market significantly it is also going to have a huge impact on gaming and who the hell knows what else. Jobs doesn't produce one trick pony products, and he has specifically mentioned that he wouldn't do so with a tablet.
  • Reply 14 of 50
    This media component (books, magazines, newspapers, etc.) could be an amazing feature, but if the device is $1000, I'm not carrying it around with me like I would a $300 device. I'm sorry, but I feel uncomfortable walking around with my iPhone at times. I hate for Apple to create anything underpowered (not that they would admit it) but price is going to be a big sticking point for me.



    There must be some other "wow" component to all of this. An example would be... if I sign up for the New York Times, I have full access to their article DB in an way that only Apple could think of.



    I bring my little hackintosh along with me because I don't like the idea of having a $2300+ (my MacBook Pro) device in my bag. Needless to say, I'm not spending $1000+ for a slick MacBook.



    We will simply have to wait and see what Apple plans to deliver.
  • Reply 15 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Dave K. View Post


    I really, really hope that Apple won't release a $1000 tablet...



    I wouldn't worry about that. It's going to cost way more.
  • Reply 16 of 50
    ahmlcoahmlco Posts: 432member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post


    Not to denigrate the efforts of any of the fine programmers who have poured their blood, sweat, and tears into creating e-reader apps... but I'm really hoping Apple provides us little fish with some sort of framework for making it easy to make a nice ebook.



    As long as you create it to go into a reader, as I don't want any more single book apps. Home screen / launcher space is restricted enough as it is. I don't need or want all fifty of the ebooks listed in my Kindle app requiring an icon.
  • Reply 17 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Gazoobee View Post


    if this is what they are thinking, then they are thinking wrong.



    No way is an electronic book, (*any* electronic book), worth more than ten bucks or so. Media companies have to start to realise that electronic products are not worth the same as their real world counterparts.



    You are so absurdly opinionated that you fail to "take off the blinkers". Have you boycotted Apple for measurably high margins on their products as well? The market will bear whatever value the consumer sees in the product. Some books and subscriptions are bound to cost more than others and some digital versions might actually cost more than their analog equivalent.



    Further, if electronic books are to include additional material including audio, video and interactive elements, it actually sounds like publishing has gotten a bit more involved. Before you counteract with... "this is not what books are or ever will be." Try to understand that investing in media rich and cross promotional material is an investment writers, producers and publishers are working hard developing essentially a new product as a means of making print relevant and meaningful in the future.



    Just as we expect Apple to innovate so too must lumbering giant industries like TV, Movies, Print and Radio; and they have tons of "catching up" to do. It's just a sign of the times. You're argument is couched in a relativistic perception of "value" and it just doesn't work. Especially in this case, since we have yet to see most of the technology and measure the perceived value of the final product.



    I think if we're getting ripped off anything could be a fail (Obviously) but if we feel like we're getting the value that we paid for, then happy times.
  • Reply 18 of 50
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post


    I remember the first time I ever had to buy a $100 book. That was a long time ago, and now I own books that cost $300. They're professional textbooks, and the price has less to do about gouging than it does market size and costs of production. Not all markets are the same. And if a company produces an electronic book that people will pay more than $10 for, then it'll have been worth more than $10 by the only definition of "worth" that matters.



    How much of that $100-$300 arises from publishers ending up with warehouses full of titles that don't sell? Publishers take this risk but also have to divine which titles are worth printing in quantity because if you print too few first up, you risk losing momentum.



    As an academic it annoys me that many academic journals are very expensive, yet rely on authors to do their own typesetting. I wrote and published my own novel using Kindle and Createspace (see my blog for pointers). It was fun and not too hard. It also hasn't covered costs but since I don't do this for a living I haven't gone broke.



    The big win from epublishing if it's done right is that you can cut out the shrinkage costs, and the risk of too small an initial print run. Let the author do most of the traditional typesetter's job, and there is no real need to charge high prices even for slow sellers. Make a small profit or lose a little in the worst case. But if your "small print run" book turns out to be popular, sales can take right off without having to rush back to the printers and hope you can print more in time to meet (possibly transient) demand.



    As for what Apple will do, your guess is as good as mine ...
  • Reply 19 of 50
    docno42docno42 Posts: 3,300member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Ronbo View Post


    I'm really hoping Apple provides us little fish with some sort of framework for making it easy to make a nice ebook.



    Enhanced Album's in iTunes. You might want to look at them a little closer
  • Reply 20 of 50
    dreyfus2dreyfus2 Posts: 1,070member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by philipm View Post


    How much of that $100-$300 arises from publishers ending up with warehouses full of titles that don't sell? Publishers take this risk but also have to divine which titles are worth printing in quantity because if you print too few first up, you risk losing momentum.



    In most cases the cost of the physical media and shipping/handling is totally over-estimated. Publishers can e.g. offer packages/collections containing thousands of pages (look for e.g. Jules Verne complete editions or the complete works of Wieland... 10-15k pages across 30 or more books with hardcovers) for next to nothing and still make money (I paid the equivalent of 45 USD for a complete Wieland edition - 22 volumes hardcover plus a nice box). And these are not "hot selling" items, so warehouse space does not seem to determine the end price either. This is not only true for books. You can find collections of classical music containing 40-50 CDs in one box for under $200, and they still carry a mark-up. Content and demand determine the price, printing cost is in most cases irrelevant (except for photo books and a few other items).
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