Well, I apologize. Events have made this a much busier summer than usual for all of us at Follow The Reader. Therefore, I am even more behind on my posting than normal. However, as promised, here is a summary of our #FollowReader “twittersation” from July 9th on Ebook pricing and Ereading device proliferation.
Spurred by that week’s flood of announcements regarding ebooks, ereaders, the pricing of both, and the never ending menace of DRM, this #FollowReader discussion was in a word, LIVELY.
Over the course of an hour and a half (many stayed past the usual hour mark, and kept on chatting until almost 5:30PM EST), many opinions were shared, along with links to articles, statistics and other information. We had more than 80 participants and well over 600 tweets.
I’ve highlighted a few of the discussion comments below, but for the full conversation, you can search here using hashtag “followreader” and dates July 9, 2009 to July 11, 2009.
Highlights from the Chat:
Dedicated device? formats? or multi-function device? all formats? (smart phone/netbook) – or why have any format/device?
ftoolan: it seems we need diff devices at diff times, phone=portability, dedicated=true immersion, computer=interactions
Do ebook sales take away from other formats sales?
npilon: I thinkt he PBK mkt is the most doomed. eBooks make more sense for “disposable” entertainment reading.
“The Revenge of Print,” an essay on how & why print books will survive made the rounds on Twitter at about the same time (early July). It was tweeted (and retweeted) by many. In it, Two-Dollar Radio‘s Eric Obenauf (one of my publishing heroes, by the way) eloquently argues that “there is space for print not only to exist in modern society, but to thrive, if undertaken on a realistic scale.”
I agreed with pretty much everything that Eric has to say in this really fantastic essay, though I do beg to differ with his contention that:
… book publishing will re-generate in the near-future into two separate models: the corporate model, which strives to attain the widest possible ‘readership’ in as short of a time-span as possible by use of electronic devices, interaction, and gimmicks; and the print model, sustained by independent, university, and re-branded imprints of large houses, that believe as Eggers, in reading as a ‘beautiful rich tactile experience,’ and who are satisfied with a book selling five thousand copies.”
In my opinion, it’s not (all or even mostly) about the format. It’s about the readership and bringing great work to them in whatever ways that they want to read it. Why not three or more separate models? Why can’t ebooks be made by independent publishers with regard to a beautiful, rich, digital experience?
Eric concludes that “The corporate ideology has run its course in book publishing, which spells the death of print to many.”
Again, I think the first half of this conclusion is where I’d put my focus. The ideology, and not the MEDIUM is the main issue. It’s not about plastic replacing paper. It’s about smart, reader-centric publishing replacing corporate, follow-the-blockbuster thinking.
Also of note that week, SourceBooks made the news by pulling an eBook edition simultaneous release. Arguments were made that simultaneous release of the lower priced ebook would cannibalize the hardcover edition’s sales. It is, however, a much more complex issue, and one that many agree has more to do with publishers attempting to assert control of pricing (rather than have pricing dictated by any particular sales outlet), than it does to do with e- versus paper sales.
Other recent articles and posts regarding ebooks and ereaders:
Reviewed by Priya Ganapati • July 01, 2009
Although Cool-er gets geek points for offering a Linux OS, 1GB of storage, and the option to flip the screen to landscape and portrait modes, the hardware has an unrefined, shoddy feel. The hard-to-press buttons are enough to give you Carpal Tunnel-esque pains after just a few minutes of use. But that’s not the most agonizing part of the Cool-er.
It’s Official (Kind Of): People Prefer the Kindle
by John Biggs on July 9, 2009
The Catalyst Group, who ran a fairly unscientific study of Google v. Bing preferences, have run another fairly unscientific study of Kindle v. Sony Reader user preferences. The results? The Kindle won on all fronts, beating Sony’s aged ereader handily.
News Bits: Publishers Worry About Amazon’s E-Book Power
Written by Erin Barker
Cheap Copies of the Original
from Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020 Blog by Joe Wikert
Join in tomorrow – Thursday July 30 at 4pm EST. #FollowReader – Charlotte will be leading, and Random House reps/bloggers/podcasters Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness will be our guests!