Thursday, 29 July 2010

Carry on up the jungle…

So Amazon are finally opening a UK eBook store and launching 2 new eReaders. They say they will set the price of the eBooks for sale, which is a little typical of its approach in publishing.  It is clear they wish to dominate and fully control the market.  I wonder if they are going to allow UK based publishers who don’t have a US presence or bank account into their exclusive little club or if they are going to continue excluding publishers even to their official UK store.  It will be interesting to watch what they are going to do.  Apparently the new store will have 400,00+ titles on it.  As a UK based publisher, today was the first I heard of the store, so I know our books are not (initially) going to be on it which is a shame. Our only route to getting onto the Kindle in the US is currently through Smashwords, maybe our books will be included through this route but its about time Amazon opened up to the fact that there is some pretty decent British based publishers out there who want their eBooks available through it store. It would also be nice if they allowed publishers to set their own prices.  Our eBooks retail at £4.95 which we believe is a fair price against our paperback which retail at £7.99.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Book to The Future

The launch of the recent Futurebook monthly events should tell the organisers of book fairs that the demand and thirst for knowledge for information on digital publishing under one roof is great.  Bar Chocolate in Soho was packed to the rafters on Thursday evening, so much so that many spilled onto the street outside for room, air and a place to network.   

Many thanks to Sam Missingham from the Bookseller for having the foresight to organise the event and I look forward to attending future meetings.  It is clear that the industry needs an organised digital book fair to discuss many of the topics buzzing around the ether in a small bar in Soho. For now the regular ‘Book to the Future’ meetings can suffices in terms of an exchange of knowledge, it is also clear that The London Book Fair (LBF) might not be the vehicle for such an event. For the past three years the LBF has pandered to the old guard with just a cursory nod toward digital publishing.

I think we need something new, something organised from outside the mainstream.  The establishment have had their chance to embrace digital and some of them are doing a great job with it while others are content to bury their heads in the sand. It would be great of course to have the full support of the proactive embracers of new publishing technology for a Digital London eBook Fair.

Publishing needs to move forward and examine all the opportunities open to it in terms of delivering content.  From augmented reality to fully immersive and interactive eBooks.  A forum to showcase technology and discuss the future book is needed. I know it would be hugely popular.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Who will re-invent the Book

We are in the transition point for books as people are introduced to eBooks and reading on electronic devices.  These eBooks naturally have to have a smooth transition which won’t alienate readers used to traditional book formats; hence we have page turning effects and formatted layout but eBooks will change.  The traditional formation will evolve, multi-media will make books something more contextually in-depth and rich adding layers of content providing a complete audio/visual experience which grows around the ‘reader’ taking him or her further into the realms of fiction like never before.

As a new generation of book readers evolve they won’t be locked in to the same mindset as the early adopters of digital books.  Technology will expand out options and the arrival of ePub 2.0 and subsequent versions will further enrich the eBook reading experience.  Content will always be king but the thrilling aspect will be the variety and richness of the content that can be delivered within a reading experience.  We will move away from page turning software and the concept of the page will also disappear.  Interactivity and cross-platform multi-media will become the norm in many instances.  Publishers will have to look at ways of delivering this new content, invariably authors will also become part of the overall process of the production of the eBook of the future.