Enhanced e-books could split trade

<p>Enhanced e-books could polarise the publishing industry, delegates were told at LBF&#39;s &quot;Winners and Losers in the Digital Jungle&quot; seminar. Karolina Sutton, senior agent at Curtis Brown, said there had been a flurry of enhanced e-books, such as <em>The Death of Bunny Munro</em> by Nick Cave (Canongate), which incorporated music and video as well as text. But Sutton warned: &quot;Very few authors will merit that kind of investment.</p><p>&quot;It will polarise the publishing industry&mdash;there will be the superbrands and the authors that get this kind of treatment. There is a type of gimickiness to these enhancements&mdash;it distracts from the actual word. We aren&#39;t getting better stories or writing as a result.&quot;</p><p>Price was also something Sutton voiced concerns about, warning that the &quot;digital ideal&quot; meant everything should be available free.</p><p>&quot;It is a danger and it&#39;s hard to see how they will resist being given away free. What is worrying is it will create a very polarised industry, where the only winners are the authors with a potential for mass market sales,&quot; said Sutton.</p><p>&quot;The danger is if we allow the price to spiral downwards we will devalue the content. We should fight really hard.&quot; But she applauded the agency model as having come to the publishing industry&#39;s &quot;rescue&quot;. &quot;The price will go down and readers usually benefit from lower prices but we will see losses. We will lose some bookshops. We are seeing it already and it will eat into the trade sales.&quot;<br /></p>