Posts Tagged ‘electronic publishing’
I’ve pre-ordered my Apple iPad today, for pickup locally on opening day, April 3. Excitement!
More importantly, for readers of this blog, let me point you to an excellent post on why the iPad is going to start a revolution in the publishing industry: Books in the Age of iPad.
I’ve been around computing hardware long enough to watch hundreds of mobile-ish, laptop-ish, tablet-ish hardware devices fail. Industry – and we’re talking hardened industry – is the only market where these devices have succeeded in the past. And it’s a tiny market.
What Apple’s got here is a device, marketplace and community that are likely to become the mainstream way people consume publications in all forms.
The hardware’s cheaper than a PC – and how many people need a PC if they are doing just email and browsing, especially with all the ugly virus protection owners of Microsoft products have to contend with? It’s smaller, lighter and easier to carry than a laptop – and, once again, how many people need to lugging around all that weight just to get at their corporate email and applications in this age of Salesforce.com? Yet, the iPad also has a large enough screen to make running applications and browsing the web a comfortable experience – unlike the vast majority of mobile devices industry pundits have told you were the next wave of the web experience. The fact is, to consume certain types of media, the mobile device – even ones as thoughtful as the iPhone – are just insufficient. And, hey Kindle!, iPad’s got a color screen. To say nothing of the multi-touch UI. To say nothing of the industrial design quality.
But the genius only starts there. We’ve seen digital bookstores before – Amazon pioneered this space nicely while B&N just barely beat iPad to the buzzer, shipping only two days ago – but we’ve never seen content purchase so seamlessly integration into the user experience. Not just books, but everything that’s in Apple’s multi-media store.
But that’s not what’s got me jazzed. What’s got me jazzed is that iPad, and the iBookstore along with it, are going to support the ePub digital publishing standard. This allows people like you and me to publish and I have a very strong intuition that Apple will do for self-publishing what they did for podcasting – legitimize the space, make it accessible, and remove the stigma (people used to say “podcasting is not broadcasting”).
And that’s the real reason Apple’s got a leg up on Amazon and B&N. Those firms are beholden to publishing houses who offer a dinosaur of a service in the age of social media and electronic publication. Amazon does not have relationships with individual authors, but Apple has created a space for those individual authors to carve out their own profitable niche. Apple is doing authors – not middlemen – a much bigger favor than Earth’s Largest Bookstore. Apple’s also got many more years of experience running a store with low-priced or even free goods. This, I think, has huge implications on profitability and on their ability to move the market to a new model of electronic – rather than paper – distribution.
And that low-cost model is the magic that will also attract magazines and newspapers who, heretofore, have had no way to charge for their content. This is the model those industries have been waiting for. If they miss the bus this time, it’s over, folks.
I’ll post on this topic again when I get my iPad, April 3.