What is Preferable: Individual, Centralized or Hybrid E-book Distribution?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

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By Edward Nawotka

In today’s lead story we look at the fragmented e-book distribution system in France, where numerous individual publishing houses are developing their own platforms. The government is trying to reconcile this and has recommended a centralized solution, one they claim would offer a single point of purchase and be “three to five times” less expensive than publishers handling the distribution on their own. Retailers, in particular, support the recommendation as it would ease their interactions with publishers. Meanwhile, over the border in Spain, instead of the government, it’s a consortium of publishers who are working toward launching a single e-book distribution platform. In the United States, there is something of a hybrid system, where individual publishers deal with retailers, while there are also wholesalers who handle bulk distribution.

But which is preferable? Individual, proprietary and non-standardized distribution may be more flexible than centralization. Centralization offers potential cost savings for both publisher and retailers. A hybrid system seems to allow everyone to have both flexibility and cost-savings. Of course, as with anything, the demon is in the details…

Tell us what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.