Ed here: I've always thought that two of the coolest guys in publishing were agents Nat Sobel and Richard Curtis. Their track records speak for themselves. Here's Curtis writing about Sobel on E-Reads.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2009
Agent Nat Sobel Challenges Publishers to Hold Back E-Reprints
Literary agent Nat Sobel, one of the most respected figures in his field, has issued an appeal to book industry leaders urging them to resist the temptation to release e-book reprints of hardcover books too early. Noting with alarm that movie exhibitors had recently pulled a film after learning that an early release of the DVD had been scheduled, Sobel draws the analogy with booksellers whose hardcover sales are cannibalized by early release of e-book editions.
The issues Sobel raises reared their head last summer when Dominique Raccah, publisher of Sourcebooks, put the brakes on simultaneous e-print of a hardcover YA thriller, Bran Hambric: The Farfield Curse by Kaleb Nation. When pundits questioned the wisdom of waiting to release the e-edition, Raccah wrote a lively defense of her decision in a posting for E-Reads called Are E-Books the New Cheap Paperback Reprint Edition?
Now Sobel is advancing Raccah's argument with a plea for publishers to hold back e-prints to give hardcovers their moment in the sun without fear of being undercut by a cheap digital edition. "I suggest that the electronic versions not be made available for six months after initial publication, eventually being released when the paperback hits the market," Sobel writes. "I’d like to believe that electronic book sales can and should be the mass market of the future."
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