How Magazines & Newspaper Publishers are Training Me
Reaching New Audiences

eReaders and Digital Bookstores

Zerosnones I recently came across a couple of great articles that are must-reads for anyone in the publishing industry.  The first one is a Gizmodo piece called How to Fix Today's Ebook Readers.  Much of the article talks about aesthetics like fonts and hyphenation.  Noteworthy, but not revolutionary.  Things get much more interesting with the headline The Greater Whole.  Here's an excerpt:

So consider this: 10,000 of us reading the same Kindle book, each of us highlighting and taking notes. Would the aggregate of this not be illuminating? If I want to publicly share my notes with fellow Kindle or iBooks readers, shouldn't there be a system in place to do this?

And check out the illustration that appears shortly after that excerpt.  Yeah, Id love to see that sort of heat map for some of the books I've read over the years.  Then there's the plea for Amazon to integrate social networking so excerpts can be tweeted.  Hey, Amazon patented one-click buying, so why not create a one-click tweet feature?

The other article I want to highlight is from Fast Company and it's called Amazon Slaps Penguin Across the Beak Over eBook Pricing.  Here's the key quote:

And if consumers buy into an e-reader platform that only supports one digital bookstore, then they might find themselves in tricky positions until the various business shenanigans have wound down to a conclusion.

That's one of the reasons I ditched my Kindle.  Sure, you can load content from sources other than Amazon, but there's really only one digital bookstore for the Kindle.  The iPad offers two advantages.  First, you can buy from Apple and Amazon, not just one.  And second, the iPad natively supports ePub files, which are closer to an industry standard than the Kindle's mobi format.

It's so easy to load an ePub file onto an iPad. I wonder how many iPad owners realize you can buy ePub products that look just as good in the iBook reader as the ones you buy from Apple.  Speaking of which, when are more publishers going to start selling these files right off their own websites?  I'm still amazed at the number of publishers who are so wedded to DRM that they can't imagine creating that direct relationship with their customers by selling non-DRM'd content on their own site.


Sol Rosenberg

Hi Joe,

This is exactly the kind of thing Copia will do - the first social e-reading platform... for your iPad in June

larry Alexander


I bet a lot of iPad owners don't know how easy it is too load an epub book onto an iPad. I know how to download to my computer, but to an iPad?

Ric Day

Larry: I just download the epub book to either my Windows or MacBook desktop, then import it into iTunes and sync the iPad.

Francis Hamit

Dear Joe:

Sales of signed copies of "The Shenandoah Spy" directly from our web site have not been as much as through the regular brick and mortar book store channel (And we're only available that way at the 147 Hastings Entertainment branches). None of our e-books sell particularly "like gangbusters: in any channel, but that is the nature of the material which is a bit dry for most readers.

I have a Kindle edition of this book which I pulled because insisted on enabling text-to-speech and it wasn't selling anyway. Now I am going to put it back up for Sony Reader and I came to a decision about pricing which goes against the prevailing sentiments and can be read on Facebook at this link:

I will sell less copies, but make more money this way. That's not greed, but survival. Literature is not and cannot be, a commodity sold to the lowest bidder. Format is immaterial.

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