Thursday, August 17, 2006

Who's moving my E-Book?

A month ago the Gutenberg Project organized a World e-Book Fair that was designed to bring attention to the e-book format by making over 300,000 e-book titles available for free download. Apparently, the amount of attention gained exceeded expectation (and initial IT capability) to such an extent that over 30million downloads were delivered according to the Boston Globe. This is interesting news given the ambivalence to e-books by publishers and traditional retailers. As Nick Bogarty of the International Digital Publishing Forum comments in a Washington Times article there are still only 60% of bestsellers available in e-book format. It seems strange to me that the publishers production processes don't automatically produce e-books for all new titles. I do recognize that the larger trade houses are creating digital repositories but the information from IDPF still surprises me. As I have commented on before, there is some form of chicken and egg situation here where publishers don't perceive demand and consumers don't perceive choice. Regardless, what will really spur e-book content and sales will be the integration of e-book content on the next generation of IPOD which most people myself included expect in the new year.

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