Saturday, September 12, 2009

Ebooks: Tasting Blood In The Water

Found this article, Ebooks: Tasting Blood In The Water, over at The Scholarly Kitchen--What's Hot And Cooking In Scholarly Publishing. It analyzes and makes some predictions about the current trend in reading devices. An excerpt:

The e-book and e-reader space is beginning to feel like the handheld business did a few years ago — a lot of companies jockeying for position, adoption rates that get your attention, deals being struck for long-term plays, and yet a sense that the mainstream breakthrough has not quite arrived.

But it feels closer than ever — approaching slowly, swimming constantly, seeking, sensing. A fin on the horizon? USA Today now includes Kindle sales in its bestseller lists. Another? A group of authors recently banded together to send free copies of their books to US troops who have Kindles.

The stakes were raised recently by two moves — Sony’s introduction of two new, wireless-enabled e-readers, and Barnes & Noble’s deals with Smashwords and Plastic Logic to create a reader/content storefront capable of rivaling Amazon’s in some respects.

There’s even a rumor that Apple and Verizon are teaming up on a reading tablet.

It’s particularly interesting to see what Barnes & Noble is doing — opening up the platform, pushing to have 1 million e-book titles in their store, selecting AT&T as their partner so that Europe and parts of Asia can get e-books through them, partnering with an e-content partner (Smashwords) that has rapidly become a favorite among independent and entrepreneurial authors, and partnering with a device that has been lurking like a Great White shark in the shallows, possibly to make the kill — the Plastic Logic reading device.

The amount of money at stake is growing. The players are bringing more to the battle lines.

To quote a popular ad, “Oh, it’s on!”

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