Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Man eBooker Prize

The Man Booker Prize is taking a bold step to reach the widest audience and are in negotiations with the British Council and publishers over digitizing the novels and making them available for all to read online for free. The objective is to engage with readers and non readers worldwide.

The are many questions not least whether the exercise will cannibalize sales or like recent music experiments with honesty boxes, boost sales and interest and engage with a new audience. If the digital copy is only a taster will readers then be induced to buy the book? Will they buy the book irrespective? Will it be only available online or to be downloaded to a reader? Will the files be DRM protected or open?

It strange that they seem to have waited until after the event to announce their intentions. We would have expected the agreements, process and mechanism to have been agreed with all parties before the event. As it stands it looks like a last minute ‘good idea’ that has not been fully thought out first. Think of the impact if it had been announce before the result and was there ready to go, the minute the result was declared.

We predict that others will now follow the idea through and it will be interesting to see where it goes next.