E-books and Cannibals

Slate.com has an article about the on-going negotiations between book publishers and vendors of e-books (Amazon in particular).  The sticking point?  E-books that cost much less than their hard copy counterparts.

“Authors and book agents also fret that low e-book prices will “cannibalize” hardcover sales, which will “undercut the sales and royalty potential of the printed hardcover,” as one agent puts it. One publisher of a hotly anticipated book is delaying the e-book by six or more months because he fears cannibalization.”

In “Does the Book Industry Want To Get Napstered?” Jack Shafer likens this fight to what occurred in the music industry in years past and comments on the likelihood of a rise in online book pirates.