This was in the Wall Street Journal (all emphases added):
Forty years ago, "Airport" author Arthur Hailey was one of the country's best-known novelists. Today nine of his 11 novels are out of print in the U.S. and difficult to find even in used bookstores.
That's about to change. This spring, six Arthur Hailey novels, including "Airport" and "Wheels," will be published [by Open Road] in e-book form, priced at $14.99 each.
The article goes on to say that publishers are discovering that e-books are good for backlist revenues.
The re-issuance of the writers' works reflects a broader effort by publishers to mine their inventories of "backlist" titles—books published more than a year ago—in a bid to generate revenue from younger readers.
And it quotes Mark Tavani, editorial director of fiction at the Random House Publishing Group, as saying:
"These [backlist books] aren't front list titles, books that your friends are talking about. But people who shop electronically are willing to load up and try stuff if the price is low."
Notice a slight contradiction there between the first quote and the second two? Younger readers have never even heard of Arthur Halley, and people who read e-books will buy unknown backlist books if they aren't too expensive. So Open Road's plan is to woo readers who have no idea who Hailey is . . . with a FIFTEEN DOLLAR e-book?
Fifteen dollars? For fuck's sake, that's more than any mass market paperback, and many a trade paperback. All for a license to read something--a license that you cannot sell yourself later on.
Oh, and maybe you can't find Hailey in used book stores, but on Amazon? You can buy used copies of his books for a penny. Yes, you have to pay for shipping, so it comes out to a whopping $4. For a hardcover edition.
Hailey is dead. He's been dead for a decade. He's not going to be coming out with a big new book that will create a splash and drive interest in his backlist. If you want to interest new readers in what is to them a new writer, $15 e-books are NOT the way to go.