The revolution will be analyzed

The Casual Optimist has a serious breakdown of the state of the eBook industry. Great article for getting your head around what the big boys are offering, what’s coming up, and what challenges lay ahead.

“It actually takes a great deal of time and expertise — often in short supply at small presses — to put a digital program in place. And although the cost of creating, marketing, and selling e-books may be low once the infrastructure is there, getting to that point requires a lot investment.

February 3rd, 2009 by Pieratt

One Response to “The revolution will be analyzed”

  1. “Optimist” is correct in pointing out that the “big boys” aren’t ignoring the digital marketplace, but I think a lot of the examples he offers illustrate that the publishers are still flailing about. Much of it amounts to frankly ill-advised promotions and dalliances which have nothing to do with e-books.

    Take this “Penguin app” for the iPhone. It offers “news, blog posts, and podcasts from Penguin.” All the normal stuff that other companies and people offer up as “web sites,” they’ve built a dedicated app for. (Can you imagine if everyone did this? If, to read your morning news, you had to install dedicated apps for the Times, the Guardian, and Newsweek?) This is not just silly, but an expensive distraction for the company.

    Meanwhile, e-books are still priced to protect the hardcover market; author royalties (on any medium, really) are a joke; the platforms still amount to a couple expensive, proprietary and dedicated devices that may never gain traction, and software platforms that are confusing and fragmented (try buying a book via the dozen vendors that Stanza for the iPhone supports sometime).

    I’m probably overreacting; there’s some value to keeping readers engaged with the publishers, and maybe some of these programs will amount to something. But it reminds of the nonsense that the music labels engaged in to distract the public from digital downloads while Apple quietly ate their lunch.

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