“For every person out of work, for every family facing foreclosure, for every small business facing a credit crunch, the recession remains alive and acute,”
— Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner
I’m still on that sad boat with no end to my unemployment journey in sight. To be honest, I think nothing of the 3.5% GDP growth last quarter and I’m waiting to hear the revised figure that will come out in a few weeks, as well as a figure that doesn’t take into account programs like cash for clunkers. I guess I don’t think something can “grow” by eating itself, seeing as how there’s that messy thing called “entropy.” Anyhow, even if it’s only words, I do admire the sensitivity Secretary Geithner has expressed.
Here is an article about how Barnes and Noble is backing Adobe’s EPUB standard.
I’m happy to see content providers getting behind this so there is device independent standard for e-books.
As for the jabs at Apple’s iTunes, well, iTunes isn’t completely locked down. There are plenty of software programs available that remove Apple’s “wrapper” so users can play the music they purchased on any device as an mp3. I had to do this when my laptop crashed and the only copy of my music collection was on my iPod (it seems to me Apple can remedy this by making it easy to transfer songs from an iPod back onto a computer, rather than locking iPods with one device). Depending upon Kindle’s success, I imagine some “Robin Hood” spirited programmer will “crack” that device as well (it may already have been done). This really is beside the point, but I am a little tired of reporters feigning ignorance about the various ways to circumvent proprietary file formats and touting proprietary file formats as the key to having a successful digital distribution business model. iTunes doesn’t have a lock on the market because their file format is proprietary. They have a lock because their device is easy to use, it’s drop dead simple to buy music for iPod and iPhone devices, and the pricing structure for the music available is within reason. Can you say Apple has had the same success with video entertainment via Apple TV? No … (in my estimation, it looks like Netflix is poised to dominate in this area due to the numerous deals they are making with TV and gaming console manufacturers. It is very simple to watch Netflix movies on demand via my XBox360 with my existing Netflix account). So far there is no clear winner on e-books or e-reading right now other than the personal computer and there are many PC manufacturers. As for e-readers, I think it’s pointless to have a separate device outside of a laptop for e-reading. Ultimately, I think this is a software play and not a device play. I think Amazon recognizes this too, which is why they are making the Kindle software available for PCs the same as Apple did for iTunes. This leaves box makers to struggle for margins as they try to one-up each other by driving device prices down. My advice to the box makers is to multi-task existing laptops, minis, and mobiles rather than wasting time and money on developing a separate e-reader device — unless, of course, that e-reader can be submerged underwater for tub-time reading. Of course, tub-time computing would also be quite revolutionary …