November 9, 2008

eBook evolution marches on

Original Post on October 31st 2007.

A CNET post argues that adoption of the new .epub format seems to be picking up, with tools starting to appear that support it (Adobe and others), devices talking about supporting it (SONY from memory) and now publishers starting to publish books in it.

Will this be the "detonator" that everyone seems to be arguing it will be for the eBook "industry"?

I have my doubts still during this early stage of the market where companies want to restrict book purchases for their device to channels they control or that they get a cut of the revenue from (e.g. Sony eReader and Connect store).

Other device manufacturers (e.g. iRex) are mainly focused on newspapers and other media types as their long-term strategic business and are happy to enable sales to the Iliad, from Mobipocket for instance.
It's not clear to me if they get a commission for eBook sales their device enables as I haven't been able to play with MobiPocket on iRex yet. But if they channel it through their IDS (Internet Delivery System) system they certainly have a control point to do that. iRex have stated to us that they see the role of eBook standard formats as being mainly between the publisher and the eDistributor (i.e. iRex!) and hence a mainly back-end technology. They will then transform the format into whatever they chose to use (and control?) on the device...So who knows!

It does provide a data point on eBook sales:
"About $8.1 million in eBooks were sold in the U.S. for the second quarter 2007 compared with $4 million for the same quarter the year before,"
100% growth Y2Y on a quarterly basis. That'll take a few eyars to get to billions, but could accelerate obviously.

That does look a bit like a hockey stick (lying down, resting...)!

Then they touch on the usual "proof points" of new publications also coming out in eBooks that are mentioned in earlier posts.

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