As I’ve mentioned before, when dealing with a person’s incapacity or death, the family members and fiduciaries should consider the value of the person’s digital intellectual property, including digital publishing rights for authors.
Last week, Amazon.com reported that deceased author Stieg Larsson has become the first author to sell over 1 million e–books through its Kindle Store (link). Amazon’s Kindle books can be read on home computers or portable devices like the Kindle, iPad, and iPhone.
Amazon now sells significantly more e–books than hardcover books (link). Their July 22, 2010, press release states that “Over the past three months, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, the Company has sold 143 Kindle books. Over the past month, for every 100 hardcover books Amazon.com has sold, the Company has sold 180 Kindle books. This is across Amazon.com’s entire U.S. book business and includes sales of hardcover books where there is no Kindle edition.” (link).
On August 3, 2010, Newsweek.com posted an interesting infographic comparing hardcover books sales, production costs, and author royalties to e–books: http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/03/back-story-books-vs-e-books.html. As I’ve mentioned before, if you are working with an author or an author’s estate, you should consider the value of their e–book publishing rights. The rapidly changing market for books may make publishing rights, including digital publishing rights, difficult to value.