Tuesday, November 13, 2007

No Exclusive iPhone Deal at HarperCollins

Last Friday we followed up on a page 3 news piece from ‘The Bookseller ‘ 9th November, 2007 that stated ‘HC in exclusive iPhone Deal’. We closed by stating that ‘we hope that logic prevails and the exclusive agreement is short lived.’
Well it would appear that there is no exclusive deal and that logic does prevail. We are pleased to correct anything we get wrong and many thanks to our friend Graham Bell at HarperCollins who emailed us:

Quite simply, HarperCollins has not inked any deal with Apple to provide book content for iPhone users. There is no 'exclusive'. There is no 'free'. In fact, there is no deal...

What HarperCollins and NewsStand HAVE done is create a website and JavaScript 'application' that allows iPhone and iPod Touch users access to our Browse Inside online book previews -- and in part because of the impressive touch-screen on those two devices, it looks great. One thing you didn't mention is that you can also preview a few minutes of the audiobook versions of many of the titles. I am pleased Apple chose our website as a 'staff favourite' to feature on its directory of iPhone-compatible websites, but the fact is that ANYONE can create their own iPhone-friendly website and submit it for inclusion in the Apple directory.
But if you don't have an iPhone or iPod Touch, you can preview samples of the same books -- and thousands of others -- via our main consumer website at http://www.harpercollins.co.uk. So we see the iPhone version of Browse Inside as a way of extending the reach of our existing digital marketing. The idea of exclusivity arises from the fact that HarperCollins appears to be the only publisher that has done this for the iPhone and iPod Touch, not because of any deal with Apple. And we certainly aren't preventing other publishers doing something similar.
We continue to add both backlist and frontlist books to Browse Inside, and we will extend the selection of titles available on the iPhone too. But we're also discussing with booksellers the ways they can put Browse Inside on retailer's own websites. HarperCollins really doesn't want to keep this all to itself.
There's no exclusivity here...

Second, it's worth emphasising that like our main Browse Inside, and indeed like similar widgets from other publishers, the previews can be downloaded to an iPhone or iPod Touch only for viewing purposes.

They can't be saved, extracted, printed... You can read the first few pages of the first couple of chapters, but that's all.