By Edward Nawotka
In today’s lead story about RAND Corporation’s publishing program, RAND marketing director John Warren says, in reference to enhanced e-books: The author has the vision; the publisher has the marketing perspective. He goes on to say that the motivation for producing an enhanced e-book really starts with the author. Do you agree?
Certainly, it sounds reasonable, especially considering it is the author who knows their material best. But there are several other factors involved — starting with the way an author gets paid — that need to change before e-book innovation takes off. The major issue, I believe, is that current publishing contracts, to my knowledge, don’t incentivize additional work that needs to be done to produce enhanced e-books. What’s more, authors themselves are typically contractually responsible for securing rights — to music, photos, film clips, or whatever else might be included. So, in a sense, there’s a disincentive for an author to push for “enhancements.”