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Is bundling the magic weapon to fight against declining print sales

We’re becoming familiar with the term ‘bundling’ now in relation to books. It refers to selling print and digital editions of a book together. has introduced its own bundling scheme, allowing customers to buy very cheaply or get for free the digital version of print books they’ve previously bought. And now Foyles and HarperCollins are both launching bundling schemes too.

What’s the attraction of these schemes? And more to the point, what’s the point?

The argument is that ever since digital books became mainstream, buyers are having to choose between a print copy or a digital copy, between a physical copy to coo over on a shelf or a convenient ebook on an ereader. There are some readers who will no longer touch printed books with a bargepole, and the opposite camp who will never, ever go digital. But the vast majority of us are mixed media consumers. We make our purchase decision on a book by book basis, using a variety of factors, but quite often price is the deciding one. It’s this group readers who will benefit most from bundling: we can choose to read the content we’ve bought however we want it at a certain time.

Many people believe that bundling will bolster declining print sales. It’s been described as the ‘silver bullet’ in the war against this fall. There are some difficult problems to solve regarding pricing and the mechanics of delivery, and it must suit everyone involved in the chain from author and agent to publisher and bookseller, but Amazon and the others offering bundling are having a good stab at how to deal with these issues. There’s probably some fine-tuning to be done but the desire and interest are there on the consumers’ part.

Bundling will provide readers with both what they want and how they want it, which can only be a good thing.   


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