Nice counterpoint to my arguments earlier, but two thoughts in response:
1) This is the beginning, give the folks a few months, they may get the hang of it
2) Even if this fails it represents a loss of earnings for the publisher, even if the results are only 2/3 or half as good as with a publisher, the estate may get more revenue from it
But there’s the problem. A poorly written press release sent unaddressed to The Bookseller’s newest reporter, backed by a quite ludicrous web-page “news flash”, which does not even appear on the site of its publisher partner “M-Y Books”, does not strike me as the sort of marketing campaign the initiative merits.
In short, there’s a reason why publishers do the jobs they do, and why they are mostly successful at it. We should not think that just because it is easy to do something digitally, it should be done with only facile attention to the basics. And as Wendell’s speech made clear, these are readers that are worth nurturing for the long term.