Buying a new book isn’t as easy as it used to be.


Spiegel & Grau, an imprint of Bertelsmann AG’s Random House Inc., last month put Jay-Z’s memoir and lyric guide, “Decoded,” on sale as a $35 hardcover. It also made a digital edition available at the same price, although Inc. and Barnes & Noble Inc. sell it for only $9.99.

The book has been a big hit. Published on Nov. 16, it has 330,000 copies in print, according to its publisher, a significant number of copies in this economy.

But Random House also has come up with a host of other editions, including an application that is expected to be available soon at Apple Inc.’s App Store for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.

“We want to deliver content any way the consumer wants to read it,” says Gina Centrello, publisher of the Random House Publishing Group, which includes Spiegel & Grau.

Consumers will be able to purchase a 10-song version of the “Decoded” app for $9.99 with interactive lyrics. If they pay an additional $24.99, they’ll get 26 more songs with lyrics. They can also listen to the actual songs if they have them in their iTunes library—or buy them. The app will work only on Apple devices.

Enough? Not quite. Random House also is offering an enhanced e-book edition for $35 that includes exclusive video interviews with Jay-Z, plus two additional videos. This format is available via the Amazon Kindle app for the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

So, one title, “Decoded,” but five versions: the book, the digital e-book, the app, the expanded app and the enhanced e-book. And that doesn’t even include the likely paperback edition.