President of US Independent Publishers Group tells UK Publishers that e-books need print books

Print titles are essential to the success of e-books, according to Mark Suchomel, president of the US’ Independent Publishers Group. Speaking at the recent Independent Publishers Guild conference in London, Suchomel said that a "blended" approach was necessary between print and digital.

He said: “You cannot promote e-books without having the book in print format. There is only one trade reviewer [in the US] requesting e-books.” He also argued because of reviewers’ bandwidth limitations and the possibility of piracy, sending e-books to reviewers was not sensible. He claims that a “shared” marketing strategy is ideal as print book publicity and marketing drives e-book sales. He said publishers must keep the territory distribution of e and print together. “The publisher markets the content, the consumer decides on the format”.

Splitting distribution will mean as digital sales increase, the publisher will spend less on promotion for the print, and hence print and digital sales will dip, he said. He added as a distributor of UK titles in the US, IPG will not accept print titles without the digital version.