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 …
Here’s an image from Engadget of the new Barnes and Noble E-reader.
It supposedly has a gray and white text display and a color multi-touch input display. Nobody seems to have any details on the functionality.
Link to Engadget Article, which I think links back to the WSJ. Hahaha …
Link to NYT article which has more “speculation.” According to this article, B&N has an agreement with Google for access to their library of public domain books in addition to the books sold at Barnes and Noble.
Link to Wired article which has even more speculation. Apparently this e-reader is built on the Android OS.
I guess we’ll find out more about it very soon when it hits the market. This may be candy that is too irresistible despite my impoverished state …
Here’s an interesting article from Ad Age about how magazine publishers are trying to get a leg up on iTunes before the anticipated release of the Apple tablet.
Not to disparage Apple (because iTunes is very easy to use and the pricing is right for the content), but I would love to have a device independent version of “iTunes” to purchase content. I think Amazon is very well suited for that. The magazine industry, however, wants their own storefront so they can control distribution (pricing) of their content. Hahaha! Well, I hope publishers don’t get greedy and make their content so expensive that people turn to piracy or don’t get the information at all.
It will be interesting to see what the next generation of tablets are like. As of now readability is a issue with LCD screen and some of the e-reader devices have resolution and color limitations. Again, I can’t wait to see how laptops and e-readers will converge, both in terms of screen technology and usability.
I have seen some interesting Flash based e-magazines that could serve as prototypes for future e-readers. I especially like those e-magazines that allow for zooming in and links to other content. With schools looking harder at e-text books, I think we may be approaching a tipping point where e-reading begins to become the norm. I am eager to see what will happen with all of this in the next 5-yrs. How will this change “brick-and-mortar” bookstores (especially used book resellers)? Will this be end the “periodical” as we know it? Will be see micro-targeted advertisements in everything we e-read? And what will happen with books, newspapers, and magazines when reading becomes a shared experience through social networking? It’s a lot to noodle on and I’ll more to say about it after I digest things for a bit.