I'm sorry to play the spoiler, Simon & Schuster, but I know exactly how this story ends.

In a move to slow the digital revolution, the CBS (NYSE:CBS)-owned publisher will delay the release of e-book versions of 35 of its most anticipated releases by four months. The plan is to move more copies of higher-priced hardcover books, just as the industry typically waits a year before issuing the cheaper paperback. Lagardere SCA's Hachette Book Group has a similar plan in place.

The move may make sense on paper, but denying the digital revolution is a brutal mistake.

"We believe some people will be disappointed," Simon & Schuster CEO Carolyn Reidy is quoted as saying in The Wall Street Journal. "But with new [electronic] readers coming and sales booming, we need to do this now, before the installed base of e-book reading devices gets to a size where doing it would be impossible."

In other words, they want to kill the momentum fueling the popularity of Amazon.com's (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle, Sony's (NYSE:SNE) Reader, and Barnes & Noble's (NYSE:BKS) Nook before consumers assume the $9.99 e-book price point is the ceiling.

The attitude fails on many different levels.

For starters, consumers are shelling out roughly $259 for these devices on the assumption that they can make up the difference between hardcover price tags and e-book prices over time. The math fails if e-book readers are penalized or forced to work the math against cheaper paperbacks.

Publishers will also get burned, since many Kindle owners will simply choose to wait. By the time the e-book version comes out, they may have already lost interest. Publishers are unlikely to launch aggressive marketing campaigns to promote e-book titles months after the hardcover buzz has worn thin.

Isn't this the same arrogance that burned the print-newspaper, prerecorded-music, and now DVD industries? Content creators blame the discounters for devaluing their wares, but the real culprit is greater access to free media. The way we absorb text, music, and video is changing dramatically. Instead of riding the wave and taking advantage of the huge cost savings of digital delivery -- from printing costs to inventory management to taking on returns -- book publishers are trying to slow the inevitable.   

The e-book revolution may be a threat to traditional retailers, but it's an opportunity for the likes of Simon & Schuster and Scholastic (NASDAQ:SCHL) in the publishing world. Getting in the way can only hurt.

Do you think publishers should delay e-book releases? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.