HarperCollins Now Sells eBooks Direct to Readers

I have written in great depth how I see the major publishers can take away market share from Amazon. I often push the point that the future of eBooks will continue to move towards more category and genre specific stores and platforms that cater directly to a reader’s interest. HarperCollins has launched their website to now focus on selling direct to customer.

At first glance, it appears that HarperCollins has built another ‘everything’ store at HarperCollins.com which caters to all major genres and categories. This is a move from a major publisher trying to gain back control over how their authors’ eBooks are sold. The continuing battles raging between Amazon and many publishers in recent times have forced publishers down this path. I imagine that the ultimate goal for HarperCollins is to be less reliant on retailers such as Amazon.

Selling Direct from Your Author Website
What is interesting are the online murmurings that HarperCollins will be providing authors with the opportunity to use their technology to sell directly from their own author website. This only encourages authors to build their brand, platform and audience so that they can sell their eBook directly to their website visitors. This also places greater emphasis on authors taking control of their own eBook marketing and promotion. Authors can already sell eBooks and books on their website or blog by pasting in code from Amazon. When a reader clicks on this widget they are taken to the Amazon site. What will be interesting is if HarperCollins does the same thing or if they will allow the author to complete the sale directly from their website as technology now allows.

Will Authors Embrace this Opportunity?
There will need to be some incentive for authors to take up this HarperCollins opportunity over what they already get from Amazon. It will come down to their royalty and most likely which store provides them with the greatest return.

What Has Changed?
Previously, HarperCollins’ website represented a corporate site. Now, they are leveraging their name and to focus on readers. Chief digital officer Chantal Restivo-Alessi stated; ‘We are excited to be able to offer an e-commerce solution to our authors, ensuring their books are always available to their fans. As a publisher, we want to offer as many paths to the consumer as possible.’

What this also does is to turn HarperCollins into a competitor with their partners in Amazon and Barnes & Noble. How they respond will be interesting. If HarperCollins succeed, will it give them greater negotiating power with their partners or will their partners try to counteract in the same way Amazon is doing with Hachette? Time will tell.