Will this be the year that ebooks finally take off? Many analysts have their doubts, and many others say it will take a while for ebooks to take hold in the general consumer market. Even though consumers are not buying ebooks, publishers keep adding them to their offerings. The latest to jump into the low-profit offering pool: Simon & Schuster. The publisher announced the opening of SimonSaysShop.com, an ebookstore hosted at the company's Web site, www.simonsays.com.
Simon & Schuster's announcement follows other publishers like Random House, AOL Time Warner, and Yahoo!, who are bringing electronic versions of their books to the Web. Electronic versions of Simon & Schuster's publications have already been sold at Yahoo!'s Ebook store, which opened last summer.
The publisher also revealed the technology partnerships behind SimonSaysShop.com. Simon & Schuster inked deals with Lightning Source Inc. for digital fulfillment, and with Digital River Inc. to provide them with a customized ecommerce engine. SimonSaysShop.com's design and consulting was brought in by Blue Barn Interactive.
Simon & Schuster's new ebook store will carry best-selling titles from all of the publisher's divisions, enabling visitors to purchase and download ebooks from the site. SimonSaysShop.com will make available electronic versions of titles within the thrillers, mystery, romance, business, children's literature, teen interest, history, self-help, and African-American interest categories. The Web store will offer titles by Stephen E. Ambrose, V.C. Andrews, Mary Higgins Clark, Jeffery Deaver, Stephen King, David McCullough, Jimmy Carter, Dalai Lama, Dr. Phil McGraw, and Pope John Paul II.
The company plans to kick off its new venture with a 20%-off ebook sale. As other companies like Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com take a new approach to selling ebooks, Simon & Schuster, too, is offering ebook titles that have never been published in any format. The exclusive titles include The Magic of Tribbles, an original nonfiction Star Trek publication; Triangle by Jeffery Deaver; and Cage of Love and Little Psychic by V.C. Andrews. All ebooks are available for download and viewable on Microsoft Reader (available for desktop and laptop PCs and Pocket PC 2002 devices) and Adobe Acrobat's eBook Reader (available for PCs and Macs). These software programs can be downloaded free from SimonSaysShop.com.