The ebooks are being sold globally in all markets where HC has the rights, but the audiobooks and paper books are only available to US customers. In addition to selling the books, HC also links to other retailers who also offer HC titles. This includes retailers outside of the US.
The store also offers previews of upcoming titles as well as the option to pre-order the book. Readers will also find author tour and appearance information, and sweepstakes featuring partner prizes.
"Our mission as a 21st century publisher is to connect authors and readers," said Angela Tribelli, chief marketing officer. "The elegant, consumer-centric design of the site provides an innovative platform for our authors that will boost the discoverability of their books, drive sales, and—ultimately—launch writing careers."
Like the Narnia.com store, the ebooks sold on HarperCollins.com can be read in the HarperCollins -branded apps for iOS and Android, and they can also be downloaded to a PC and transferred to a compatible ebook reader.
Based on the few minutes I spent checking price, HarperCollins is pricing some titles competitively and others at full price. That is much the same pricing policy as Amazon and other ebook retailers, and in fact HC sometimes beat the Amazon price.
HarperCollins is one of a number of publishers, including RosettaBooks and Hachette, that are trying to forge a direct retail connection with readers in the hopes of bypassing or at least lessening the impact of the Kindle Store. Given the inconvenience of HarperCollins's new store, I don't think they will have much luck in loosening Amazon's grip on their pocketbook - at least not directly. But if HC were to start emphasizing links to other retailers, they might be able to lessen Amazon's market share.
It would be a roundabout solution, but it's still better than the alternative.