Found via Nate’s Ebook News, Publisher’s Weekly has a piece about Barnes & Noble experimenting with bundling e-book and paper book versions together. The idea is that when customers buy a physical book at a Barnes & Noble store, they would receive a coupon to get the e-book at a discount. Exact details still need to be worked out with the publishers.

Certainly a number of people have talked about wanting to get both versions of the book at once. Sometimes people who buy the print book will then go ahead and pirate the e-book, reasoning that they have paid for ownership of the book so snagging an e-copy of it to read on an e-book device is tantamount to ripping a CD into mp3s to play on their iPod.

But from the article, it does not sound as if B&N is truly planning what people usually think of as “bundling”—you will have to pay some extra money for the e-book version. Given that the e-book version has no marginal cost to produce, I expect e-book fans will still express disappointment that this offer does not go far enough.

The article also mentions the possibility of putting print-on-demand machines into larger Barnes & Noble bookstores, something we have discussed before in regard to the Espresso device.

But it turns out that Barnes & Noble is not the only retailer experimenting with e-book sales in physical bookstores. Publishing Perspectives has a brief piece on German e-book vendor Libri is putting software into bookstores that will let customers order books, pay for them in the store, then receive a link to the books via e-mail. Another German e-book service, Libreka, allows purchasing e-books in-store and saving them directly to a USB stick.


  1. Movie sellers have been doing this with DVD for a while now; you get a “digital copy” of the movie along with the DVD, and the price is raised $7.50 for your convenience. (Nobody ever asks whether we might want to skip the digital copy and save money.)

  2. Density, at least in the Disney/Pixar movies I’ve seen that do this, you can skip the digital copy and save the money: you buy the 2-disc without the copy, or the 3-disc with it.

    I also find it interesting that a number of Blu-Ray movies bundle a DVD version of the film as well.

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