Fri 7 August 2020
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Is the ebook the new hardback?
Publishers are speculating that they might amplify pre-paperback word of mouth by giving away digital editions

I've been resolutely old school until now when it comes to reading – I'd rather carry around a forest of dead trees than spend any more of my time squinting at a screen – but there's a gathering trend that is giving me second thoughts. As e-readers move towards the mainstream, publishers' increasing interest in web-first publishing could leave luddites waiting up to six months longer than the cool kids to read their favourite author's latest novel.
It's a change that mirrors one I've witnessed at first hand in newspapers. Four or five years ago it would have been unthinkable for most newspapers to give away their stories and pictures on the internet for nothing. That was all newspapers had: content. Nowadays, with the exception of Rupert Murdoch's stable, there are very few newspapers that don't operate a web-first policy. Most local and regional newspapers break news on their websites up to 24 hours before it makes it into the hard copies the vendor shouts about on street corners.

This cultural shift happened almost overnight. One day we kept our content closely guarded for fear our rivals would snap it up; the next we were banging stories on to the web as fast as we could. Readers were deserting newspapers so fast that we all decided there would be nothing to lose in playing the internet at its own game. And now publishers seem to be following the same logic.

For the full article

The Guardian