HarperCollins Offers Free Online Editions of Books


HarperCollins recently began posting free online editions of some of its forthcoming titles. Among the books available for view on the HarperCollins Web site are the novels The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver and The Witch of Portobello by Paulo Coelho. The "full access" program expands upon the publisher's existing "Browse Inside" option, which allows customers to look through a few pages of select titles prior to purchase.

As part the new program, each electronic edition will be offered online for one month, and will not be printable or available for download to e-book readers. The Web site provides links to a variety of retailers for customers interested in buying print or electronic copies of books.

Jane Friedman, chief executive of HarperCollins Publishers Worldwide, told Motoko Rich of the New York Times that she suspects most readers will not read an entire book online, but will be drawn to purchase titles they have perused. “It’s like taking the shrink wrap off a book,” Friedman said. “The best way to sell books is to have the consumer be able to read some of that content.”