Should Authors Drive Enhanced E-book Innovation?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

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?

Current publishing contracts may be a disincentive to producing enhanced e-books.

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.”

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.