TOC and Kindle 2

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.

On my way to O’Reilly TOC 2009

I’m writing this post on flight LH412 to Newark. It’s the first post I’m actually writing on the iPhone (with the WordPress app) so bear with the typos.

The next three days I’m going to attend the O’Reilly tools of change for publishing conference in order to learn more about the technical and business aspects of ebook publishing.

I’m glad I’m going to be there on time because arriving at Hamburg airport I recognized that my actual flight booking was for yesterday. Thankfully a very nice lady at the lufthansa ticketing desk changed the ticket although it wasn’t 100% eligible :-)

so hopefully I will still have my hotel room reservation. I gave them notice (via email) from Hamburg airport so it should name available (fingers crossed)

So from Monday to Wednesday I’m going to be at the Marriott Marquis at Times Square. Monday is the tutorial day, Tuesday and wednesday are the actual comference days.

I’m very much looking forward to it. Right now I don’t know too much about the book and ebook industry. I’ll definitely learn a lot about it in the coming days. Since I’m working for a news agency obviously I’m most interested in news and newspaper related aspects of all this.

Although not very knowledgefulabout the industry, i have a fairly long history with ereading devices. Back in 2000 (or was it 2001?) as part of my job at the Bertelsmann technology think tank I had access to a RocketBook AFAIR it was the first eReading device that tried to attract to the masses. It didn’t and rightfully so.

I also had/have access to one of first iLiad devices (as part of dpa’s membership in IFRA’s enews programme). Longtime readers of this blog know that I’m not enthused about this device (and eink based ereaders in general)

My basic objections to these devices are that they are mainly monofunctional devices that in addition have the problem that the economies of scale make them expensive compared e.g to smartphones and netbooks

Hence my favorite ereading devices right now are the iphone / iPod touch. ( with my dream device being a iphone
Is based device with a screen diagonal of 8 – 10 inches weighting around a pound. Alternatively I’ll take am Android based one.

In order to evaluate book reading on tv iPhone further (I already read a couple) I decided to take it to the extreme. I started to read the original 18th century version of Kant’s Kritik der reinen Vernunft. The rational was that if I’m able to read this I should be able to read pretty much everything. Right now
I’m into chapter 3 (of 26) and I guess that my reading experience is about 70-80% of the book reading experience.

The main problem arises from the length of the 18th century german sentences which are very often longer than a screenful.

My assessment of the ereader market is very much in line with John Syracusa’s recent article at ArsTechnica. I’ll definitely recommend it to everybody interested in the subject. He can definitely put it better into words than I can do it. I’m looking forward to hear his talk at the conference.

Of all wink based devices the kindle is definitely the best one on the market right now. It is not purely monofunctional and brings the whole
Whole ecosystem including store and wireless connection with it. But right now it is restricted to the states because of it’s use of the EVDO network and is dead ugly.

At least the latter should be remedied with the new kindle. With some luck I might be able to attend the Amazon press conference on Monday evening which is rumored to take the wraps off.

PS.: if somebody is interested in meeting me while in NY, just send me a tweet at gkamp