Love lost on ebooks

Pan Macmillan continue to talk up their ebook efforts, this time the epublication, sans-DRM, of a sort-of-but-not-quite first draft of a recently published print title, Cliffhanger. Cliffhanger: The Other Text is “a carefully selected blend of several early drafts”. Presumably not as carefully selected as the draft that eventually made the grade for the print edition? The blog post states it’s their

“most experimental special edition so far, revealing an alternative ending, a missing love scene, and other small changes not yet changed… [huh?] character names, details of plot, and so on.”

Later in the post we learn it’s not just any love scene but a lesbian one, so at the very least it should get a few males in the 15 to 24 year-old age bracket reading it.

But the underlying concern is that if the print edition is worth selling for £14.99 but the e-dition is only worth giving away, are ebooks still just a marketing gimmick? Or worse, are marketing departments still inventing gimmicks – like lost lesbian love scenes – to get ebooks into our hearts and minds when really we’d still just like a paperback?