Elsevier has become the latest publisher to partner with Vancouver start-up BitLit to offer discounted ebook editions of a part of its book catalog.
“And one of the exciting things is that Elsevier is going DRM-free on the bundling,” BitLit co-founder Peter Hudson (pictured) tells The Bookseller.
“Not even watermarking. So Elsevier becomes one of the big three technical publishers we have on board,” he says, the other two being O’Reilly Media and Packt Publishing.
“They’ve all gone DRM-free.”
BitLit’s fast-growing roster of ebook-bundling partners now is some 200 publishers deep. Each participating publisher provides to BitLit all or part of its catalog, sets the prices on each ebook edition of a print book, and chooses what, if any, digital rights management (DRM) software features it wants.
The reader-consumer knows BitLit, launched in January, as an app. A reader can claim the ebook edition of a print book that he or she owns by writing his or her name (in ink) on the copyright page of the print book and snapping a picture of it using a smartphone. BitLit’s vision technology then uses the that image to verify ownership and fulfill the customer’s order of the ebook under whatever terms the publisher has selected.
Elsevier’s new partnership means that the company is offering some 5,000 of its science and technology ebooks to BitLit users who have previously bought print editions of those titles. No receipt or point-of-sale record is needed.
Asked for an example, Hudson chooses the Elsevier title Advanced Mathematical Tools for Control Engineers, Volume 1 (2008, Alexander Poznyak). The print edition, he says, is listing at around $400, and the ebook price, as a standalone buy, is $255. The bundled ebook through BitLit, he says, is $89.99.
While we may not all be control engineers, Hudson does have an engineering background, with Aquatic Informatics and Westinghouse, and this gives him special appreciation for the technical-manual niche in bundling. “If I’m at a mine site in Alaska or on a river doing hydrology somewhere,” he says, “I’m never going to lug along a 1200- or 1,800-page engineering manual. But I will have my phone with me, I guarantee that. So if I need to have a reference to a calculation, $89 is pretty cheap way to be sure I always have that engineering manual with me.”
By Porter Anderson | @Porter_Anderson
The Bookseller: Elsevier offers DRM-free ebook-bundling through BitLit
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