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Romance Fans Love E-Books and their publishers adopt digital strategies

Romance fans in particular have already embraced e-books, in part because customers can read them in public without having to display the covers. In addition, type size is easily adjusted on e-readers, making titles published in the mass paperback format easier to read for older customers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Dorchester Publishing, a book ad magazine publisher is making the switch from print to digital after its book sales fell 25% in 2009, in part because of declining orders from key retail accounts.

The decision to go digital could be a sign of things to come for small publishers facing declining sales in traditional print distribution. And trees will thank them for it!

Dorchester's switch to digital publishing will likely result in significant savings at a time when it expects its digital sales to double in 2011.

Dorchester, which has been publishing mass market paperbacks since 1971, publishes 25 to 30 new titles a month, approximately 65% of which are romance works.

Mr. Prebich estimated that 83% of the books published by Dorchester are priced at $7.99. By comparison, the larger trade paperback format is typically priced at about $14.95.

Some authors, Mr. Prebich conceded, may be unhappy if their titles are available only via e-books and print-on-demand, but he said that so far the response has "been receptive to what we're doing."

Ingram Publisher Services, a unit of closely held Ingram Industries Inc., says it will ship orders to retailers as demand arises.