John Makinson is the CEO of Penguin Books, one of the largest publishers and the most prestigious in the world. While the book fair is held in Paris, he explains the "Echos" why it considers that digital is an opportunity for Penguin and why the first editions "to hard cover" ("hard cover"), on which rests the economy of the Anglo-Saxon Edition, should be appreciated by the public.
Is the digital format an opportunity or a threat to Penguin
I think that digital is an opportunity. The online store that will accompany the iPad will put us in contact with 150 million people, some of which are new potential customers. Digital allows new forms of content. We recently showed a video with interactive children on iPad's books which caused a sensation on the Web. And there are opportunities for new economic models: subscriptions, rental payments by extracts, etc. And in addition, it saves on the manufacture and storage, which represent 10 of the price of a book.
The printed book will weigh less heavy in all of your sales
The book itself is in good health. People like to read books, exchanging them, offer them and there is a sentimental attachment to the object. Other leisure activities do not have this chance. So, of course, digital books will capture a part of the application. Electronics will be particularly adapted to children's books, to travel, to the books of medicine guides, etc., even if there are opportunities to include multimedia in literature and trials. But by adding digital books and paper, there will be growth. I see a little e-book as another format, as the book of pocket (a segment on which Penguin was a pioneer in the 1930s, to the chagrin of the traditional publishers, Editor's note). This is why it will be necessary to consider the rights of physical books and digital Assembly.
The economy of the Anglo-Saxon Edition is based on the books "in hard cover. Is this segment threatened
In my view, the "hard back" format will rather well resist and e-book will take to the paperback market share, even if we still know little. It is good for our industry, even if I keep my display too much confidence in this area, at this stage.
Could an editor ally with a producer of video content
The iPad is going to be an interesting experience, even if it is not so easy technically to include videos. Eventually, I would like all e-book authors do a video introduction to their book. It may also include other images, type archives... Why not also distribute some novels film adaptation What we do already in part. The real problem will be the following: what is the buyer wants to pay Ask Pixar develop animations for our books to children will cost lot of money. I am not sure that the public be willing to pay for it. We need to test his appetite.
It will be easy to steal books, including bestsellers, on which rests the economy of the book. When electronic readers will become a consumer product, don't you be afraid that this phenomenon take the scale
We remain vigilant and we are improving our systems of protection. But the problem is minor today, although piracy is already easy. I do not think that this becomes a significant problem, otherwise it would be already. A breach of copyright for books paper, including India, is a larger problem that digital piracy. There is this technical reasons. But there is a psychological reason. It is very "cool", if you are a young person, to have 20,000 songs on your iPod. This is not "cool" to have 10,000 e-books. There is not this mentality of "playlist".
Do you fear being a prisoner of a cartel of distributors online
No, the arrival of Apple in the field of Amazon gave more weight to the publishers. The competition moved. In addition, the advantage of digital is that publishers have a more direct relationship with the consumer. Can do experiments with prices and access to data. Finally, under the agreement reached with Apple, the latter supports 30 of the price of the e-book while physical distributors 50. The proportion is better for us, even if the price will be lower. It should strike a balance 12,99 $ $, half the price of a "hard cover".
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