So i’m attending TOC and was simultaneously following the Kindle 2 launch (via liveblogs). My impression: Publishers are really exploring all opportunities to publish their content.
To my surprise e.g. Leslie Hulse (Vice President, Digital Business Development at HarperCollins Publishers) stated that Piracy and hence DRM is no big concern. They are monitoring the torrent sites, but see it largely as marketing. She also hinted a couple of times that Apple is moving in the eBook area. At the minimum this could mean that they provide some better means to filter the Book section of the app store. But maybe this means more. (fingers crossed).
Cynthia Cleto (Global Manager for eBooks at Springer Science+Business Media) told the audience that they have given 30000 books to Google for the Google Book Scan and that they are seeing 30% of the traffic to their sites coming from Google.
I already tweeted that the Kindle 2 is still EV-DO only, so no Kindles outside the US soon. In addition the hints that Amazon eBooks are coming to phones (including iPhones) soon are mounting.
All this leaves quite some opportunity for a decent eReading device in Europe. May be one based on a phone OS. To see the potential of a GSM/Wifi-based device one only has to compare the sales figures of the original iPhone being sold only in the US vs. the sales figures of the iPhone 3G.
So all in all i think the market is getting ripe enough to make it interesting enough for a move by Apple. Put up a Books and Magazines Section in iTunes (parallel to Music and Apps, not as a section within Apps), and introduce a bigger iPhone OS based reading device. Use EPUB as the base format and include a Reader with all iPhones etc.
Either Apple moves within the next 6 -9 months or some Android based devices will be the first to do so. All in all i don’t think that Amazon wants to lock their eBooks to their devices. Primarily they want to sell books, the kindle is an instrument to develop the eBook market.