I will make a couple of predictions primarily based on what I’ve seen occurring this week within the eBook market. As with all kind of prognostication, I in all probability have a 50-50 likelihood of being mistaken. However guessing concerning the future, notably within the fast-paced realm of expertise, is my sort of enjoyable.
First off, how do you spell e-book? Or is it e-book? Newspapers just like the NY Instances use the hyphen, and stylish rulebreakers do not. I am betting with the stylish rulebreakers as a result of, hey, they’re the rulemakers of tomorrow (which is subsequent week).
The occasion that greater than something obtained me heated up concerning the pre-Christmas hype for e-readers (hyphen right here for readability?) was an advert I noticed on on TV simply two nights in the past for the Sony Reader. Now, this machine has been in the marketplace for a few years. It was one of many first of its kind, predating the Amazon Kindle. However Sony’s technique was apparently to put it on the market first primarily to students and librarians, taking print adverts in a number of the snobbier journals. I complained in my weblog, even again then, that Sony was preaching to the choir and losing its lead time by not addressing customers instantly. I wished to see a billboard marketing campaign with some glitzy, techno counterpart to silhouettes of dancers leaping round sporting white earbuds.
And I used to be mystified that Apple appeared to be ignoring that market intentionally. In actual fact, I used to be appalled when Steve Jobs reportedly remarked that children do not learn anymore, so no level in launching a reader. I hoped that was intelligent disinformation, a lot as I dislike the usage of disinformation in any type, for any purpose. (You’ll be able to learn ebooks on an iPhone utilizing varied third-party apps. I do not suppose that is a core technique for Apple, although.)
So I did a bit of information drilling on the Sony advert and found that folks reported seeing it as early as final month (August 2009) in some regional markets. I reside within the Los Angeles space, and I might by no means seen it. However this restricted publicity final month appears to me like check advertising. I’d wager that now, post-Labor-Day and pre-holiday, you may see that advert rather a lot, on all main networks, broadcast and cable, and nationwide.
Personally, I suppose the advert sucks, depicting a panel of specialists (some/all actors), who’re touting the factor. One claims to be the world-champion speed-reader, and I wager he really is. However gyrating pop-icon silhouettes, they are not. As soon as once more, Sony is pitching the geeks. (I rely myself as a geek so do not suppose I am disparaging my friends. It is simply that we’re not the vast majority of the inhabitants or everybody within the U.S. would have had Medicare years in the past.)
Add to this portentous improvement the associated proof that Philips iRex is now being launched in a enterprise with Greatest Purchase and Verizon, as reported in yesterday’s NY Times. The iRex reads the open-source EPUB format. Sony just lately introduced that the Reader would quickly help that format, as nicely, together with its proprietary LRF format and Adobe PDF. One large distinction is that EPUB books sometimes the dearth digital rights administration (DRM) digital copying restrictions imposed by LRF, Amazon Kindle, and a few Adobe PDF variations.
Individually, I made a decision to affix the membership and beefed up my membership and presence on eBook distribution service Smashwords.com, which helps EPUB and LRF, in addition to a number of the opposite codecs. I am pondering a giant consideration for eBook patrons ought to be the long-term value of shopping for content material. Costs of ebooks fluctuate broadly, however many Amazon Kindle variations are marketed at just below ten bucks. Numerous Smashwords EPUB variations vary from free to a buck or two, though bestsellers sometimes value extra. Then too, there’s the general public area library provided by Project Gutenberg, the place all the pieces is each free and a couple of hundred years outdated. However when you’re in search of Charles Dickens quite than Dan Brown, you’ll find him and hundreds of different well-known authors there in EPUB, HTML, and “plain-text” codecs.
It seems as if the Sony Reader Pocket Version is priced lowest amongst its opponents, but it surely lacks wi-fi connectivity. Maybe that is no large deal and the worth level is the essential issue. Different Sony Reader fashions, in addition to the Kindle and the iRex, have built-in wi-fi (with bundled service), which I am guessing is the primary purpose for the worth differential.
All this can change, in all probability by the point I click on the Submit button to submit this text.
And what about Apple? Can we anticipate an announcement any day? I am betting on a plug-in tablet-sized display as an adjunct to the present iPods. Years in the past, I noticed a “leaked” YouTube slide presentation on such a tool, as if it had been ready for an Apple improvement workforce briefing. Whether or not the video clip was bogus or not, the idea makes excellent sense, each technically and commercially. The iPhone is a helpful reader, however I would not learn a novel on it.
And I additionally thought Amazon’s technique to introduce the larger-format Kindle 3 into the faculty textbook mannequin was an excellent move–into a market area of interest you’d suppose Sony would have owned by then.
I do not know whether or not it means something, however I can not discover that leaked Apple video on YouTube anymore…