The Wall Street Journal reports that HarperCollins has joined the ebook-delay bandwagon. They're experimenting with a four-week to six-month lag after the release of hardbacks as a way of protesting Amazon's $9.99 price. Publishers say this is below cost, and it's almost certainly behind the $9.99 price on hardbacks we've been seeing at some discount stores.
Interestingly, it's NOT below the cost of a YA novel (or most of them, anyway). In my experience, the wholesale rate is about half the cover price. Yet YA novels still cost that $9.99. If I ruled the world, I'd release ebooks for YA readers at the same time as the hardback and see what happens. It's not below cost, and publishers sort of lose their griping rights. Then they could go ahead and delay the release of the adult books, and then they can compare sales and have an actual experiment on their hands.
Read the WSJ story here.
Read a blog post by Todd Sattersten that criticizes the move to delay ebooks here.