Publishers are more than a little squeamish about ebooks, and lending ebooks doubly so. With that in mind, it’s not really a surprise that Penguin Books has decided to pull its content from OverDrive, the lending system used by over 7,500 libraries in the U.S.. Penguin previously removed its titles, only to bring them back a few days later. This time, however, the change is looking to be permanent.
Google's ebook plans have hit a snag or two, but now we're hearing reports that almost all US publishers are onboard with their upcoming Google Editions store. In all, approximately 25,000 authors and publishers have agreed to participate. The deal included many books with expired copyrights, bringing the total number of volumes to over 4 million.
The model expected to be used for Google Editions will be similar to the Apple iBooks version in which publishers set the price. It's likely that many books in Google's store will be available at very low cost. Tie-ins with specific devices were not disclosed. The service is expected to launch in late June or July.
There is hope that the entry of Google into the ebook space can keep other competitors like Amazon and Apple in check. Do they have a chance?
When Apple announced its iBook store there was one publisher conspicuously absent: Random House. In case you don’t keep up with the wheelings and dealings of the publishing industry, Random House is the largest publisher in the world. Now we’re hearing the strange truth about why they won’t be jumping on the iPad bandwagon. According to the Financial Times, Random House doesn’t want to start an ebook price war.
We certainly find this confusing, as most other publishers are moving ahead full speed with the apparent intention to cause just that. The Amazon model has always rubbed publishers the wrong way. Amazon simply buys the book licenses and sells them for whatever they want (usually $9.99). Many in the industry feared that ten bucks would just become the default price for a book, much as $.99 became the price for music. Apple will allow them to pick their price, and pay Cupertino a 30% cut of that.
It could be that Random House just wants to stay above the fray until the whole thing is worked out. Maybe if the iPad really takes off, Random House works will deluge the iBook store. Are you concerned about this impending of future of siloed content? Will we ever be able to just get everything in one place?
The magazine industry is finally starting to realize they need to get going on this whole internet thing. A group of publishers today committed to begin digital distribution of their properties. There are little actual details to go on right now but we do know that the principal partners in the joint venture are Time Inc, Condé Nast, Meredith, Hearst, and News Corp.
The entities have individually worked on a number of digital formats. Condé Nast for instance, is building a digital reader with Adobe. Then there is the digital magazine prototype format shown off by Time just recently. In all likelihood, the partners will need to settle on one standard.
The likely goal of the joint venture is to ensure publishers retain direct control of distribution rather than allowing heavy hitters like Apple or Amazon to resell their content. Can publishers expect Amazon and Apple to support this move? While Apple seems to be happy to cut deals to get more content into the iTunes store, Amazon may be a tougher sell. Amazon will be concerned with protecting the end to end experience on their Kindle eReader. Publishers can only hope their combined influence can get them a favorable deal.
Print publications have really been taking it on the chin as of late, but Time Inc thinks they have just the idea to pull profits out of their current slump. The publisher of such magazines as Sports Illustrated, and Entertainment Weekly is working on an electronic magazine format for tablets. The goal is to make the experience fluid and practical enough that people might actually want to buy it.
The demo appears to take advantage of the tablet form factor. Stories are shown in full screen, and extra materials, like video or slideshows, can be integrated with the main story. There also appears to be some gesture support for flipping through virtual pages. All the content can be updated in real time if the device has an internet connection.
It seems obvious that this format is poised to take advantage of a possible upcoming Apple Tablet. All that remains is for that product (or others like it) to actually exist in significant numbers.Assuming you owned some sort of tablet, would you be interested in this sort of magazine format?
Google has released more information about its upcoming ebook service, called Google Editions. Unlike the Amazon store, which is tied to the Kindle, Google ebooks will be usable on any device. Then new service will feature a selection of in-print books provided by Google’s publishing partners. Google Edition should launch in the first half of 2010 and offer 400,000 to 600,000 books.
Google clarified that the service would not be entirely cloud-based. After obtaining a book the customer could have a cached version for use when no not online. This caching may be done via Google Gears.
Google Editions will utilize three business models. The first will allow consumers to purchase directly from Google Books. This model would give Google a 37% share of the sale, with the rest going to the publisher. The second model would consist of purchases made from partner retailers, with Google getting 55% of the sale. The last model Google is looking at will have customers going directly to a publisher’s website to make purchases. No decisions have been made on the split for this option.
No word yet on any device manufacturers Google plans to partner with. Maybe you should hold off on that Kindle purchase.
We're taking a look at Web page creation tools in this week's freeware/open-source roundup. And let's face it, the task sounds daunting: making a Web page, that is. Finding the programs is the easy part. There are a ton of authoring tools out on the Interwebs, but therein lies the problem. You don't want to have to burrow through 30 different applications to find the one that matches your experience level. And if you're completely new to HTML/CSS, you're going to want the most bare-bones, easy-to-use application you can find for making your first big online "Hello World!"
We've scoured through a number of programs to find the best applications for helping you make that picture-perfect Web page. From HTML creation, to file uploading, to validating, our choices represent a batch of must-have programs. Depending on your experience level, you might not need all five before you have your own variant of Maximumpc.com up and running. But everyone should be able to find something they need in our treasure trove of Web tools.