November 9, 2008

Business Week on eBooks

Original Post on October 31st 2007.

See this Business week article on eBooks. It pushes on the size and weight advantages of eBooks (in fact, the eReader) for a large number of books.
How often do you need to carry and/or read multiple books at a time I hear you ask!
I'm a 3-4 book man myself (if travel guides are included) - four at the moment now that I think of it - plus a pad for notes...

The article argues for Higher Education as the breakthrough point for eBooks. I quote:
"Standard & Poor's thinks e-books could have the strongest future in higher education since today's students are more adept and versatile in their use of multimedia. Electronic textbooks can allow for greater interaction and can be tailored to fit each course."

That's an area with a lot of vested interests in places of control (e.g. University Presses, Professors writing books, etc) that will be hard to shift from there, or that need to win via the transition...

This quote probably reveals why this whole article was written in the first place:
"McGraw-Hill's chairman and chief executive, expects more growth in the digital world with the fall debut of CourseSmart, a new college publisher cooperative e-book and e-commerce Web site."
i.e. to push the CourseSmart initiative of McGraw Hill, anyone know anything about it?

They round-up by summarizing the advantages of eBooks:
"E-books have several advantages. Text can be searched instantaneously, and cross-referenced through hyperlinks, which is perfect for dictionaries and textbooks. E-books require very little physical space and can store hundreds of books. Text size, fonts, and light can be adjusted to the reader's preferences. And they're environmentally friendly."

I'm worried about DRM for eBooks, both as either making them a pain to use, totally blockign their adoption, or being the basis of the business model and being completely circumvented. But I haven't yet thought of a proposal with a robust business model that would work without DRM. That needs more time to think. Perfect for a four-day weekend. Bye!

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