March 20th, 2008

PC keyboard

Pots, kettles, and e-books

GalleyCat recently ran an item on how Penguin is planning to sell "classics" (as in not only famous but old enough to be out of copyright) in e-book form. The GalleyCat report cites an O'Reilly blog entry by Jimmy Guterman complaining that Penguin is selling what should be given away. Penguin is hoping to mimic the DVD formula by adding "extras" to the e-book versions of books. In the case of Pride and Prejudice, for example, buyers would get period recipes, dance instructions, and an etiquette guide. Far from being impressed, Guterman called it a missed opportunity. It seems to me he's misplaced the blame. Penguin sells books, not e-book readers. If anyone is missing the boat, it's the companies that sell book readers, which could easily come loaded with the buyer's choice of free public domain material.

Cast your aspersions at Amazon and Sony, not Penguin. If they had loaded up the Kindle and the Sony Reader, Penguin wouldn't have much to sell.