Thursday, August 16, 2007

I’m With Him

In an Associated Press article posted in early June, “Publishers Testing e-books for Young People” (MSNBC), Jon Yaged, U.S. publisher of the Disney Book Group, expressed his reluctance to use the term e-book, instead preferring “digital books.” His quote: “There hasn't been enough success with the e-book. We believe it's better to call it something different."I’ve had it with the term e-book too (or is it eBook? ebook? What if it starts a sentence? Is it EBook?). It’s messy, it’s inconsistently spelled, and it conveys the entirely wrong message. I have a hope that changing the terminology around the e-book might help to spark some new thinking on the subject. There has to be a better argument for digital books than “you can read in bed with the light on” (frequently cited, see this NY Times article from August 9 ).

If the goal of the e-book isn’t to replicate the reading experience online but change it fundamentally, what new business models could ensue? This is not to criticize the worthy efforts and significant technology and standards hurdles overcome by those working in this area—just a shout out to the sales and marketing strategists who might capitalize on what is indeed a growing market by changing things up a bit.

Susan Ruszala who is a freelance marketing consultant to publishing technology companies and was formerly responsible for international marketing activities for VISTA (now Publishing Technology Plc). She is an avid reader. You can contact Susan at

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