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October 28, 2011 Uncategorized 0

There have been several interesting articles on the future of publishing, e-books, and tablet computers recently.  Over at CNN, Amy Gahran writes about the potential market for smaller tablets, looking primarily at the Kindle Fire, Nook Color, and forthcoming Kobo Vox.  At PBS’s MediaShift, Jenny Shank gives 5 Reasons E-Books Are Awesome, Even for the Very Reluctant.
Also at MediaShift, Dorian Benkoil urges e-book publishers to avoid “media hell.”  In the process he details a number of the frustrations felt by e-book customers, including several I’ve discussed in this blog: lack of a standard format and standard DRM; the fact that customers don’t actually own the book itself, only a license; the difficulties of giving, loaning, and borrowing e-books; cross-platform issues; lack of availability in the customer’s preferred/required format; and price disparities between print and e-books (often in the wrong direction, i.e., e-books costing more than one would pay for a print copy.)   Unfortunately, though Benkoil suggests there is a good business model for the e-publishing industry, he doesn’t explain said model, nor how the various players could be persuaded to adopt it.  Standard format and DRM are a particular bugaboo for many readers, and I don’t see the e-tailers agreeing on a universal standard (as happened in the music industry with the CD and then the MP3 file) anytime soon.  Amazon, for instance, appears to be doing so well with Kindle that they have no incentive to shift from Kindle format to e-PUB, and they’re even less likely to open Kindle format to other retailers.  

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