- Should it be e-books or ebooks? I know that the dictionaries have adopted email, but ebooks looks weird to me. I need a ruling from the style manual.
- Multimedia content seems incompatible with paper-screen and the cheaper processors that I assume Kindle uses. If iBook becomes a real competitor to Amazon, we're looking at VHS vs. Beta or Blu-ray vs. whatever the other standard was called, I've forgotten already.
- There is a wide range of what people make available as add-on content for DVDs, but most of it seems either low-cost (commentary tracks, maybe a cheap "making of") or sunk-cost (deleted scenes, bloopers, audition footage, storyboarding). The multimedia content you would have to add to a book seems both high-cost and outside what you ordinarily expect would be within a traditional publisher's competence. It seems like a very risky move to try to add that content just to move an e[-]book from a $10 price point to a $20 price point.
- What is the unit manufacturing cost and shipping cost of a book, anyway? I always assumed that the available unit profit margin from an electronic book (i.e., price) is greater than the available profit from a physical book (price minus manufacturing, distribution, and remaindering), leaving aside the issue of how profits are divided up between the publishers and retailers.
- Which leads me to this observation: as long as most consumers buy and read physical books, the threat of e[-]book piracy is relatively minor. If the publishing industry were to move to principally electronic distribution, wouldn't we expect the same seismic changes we've seen in the music industry? Huge loss of revenue to piracy, meaning that content costs have to be spread over fewer units, creating pressure to pay most authors [even] less and to cut costs [even] more? Lowered barriers to entry leading to market-share loss by traditional giants, counterbalanced by rise of smaller independent publishers and some successful self-publishers, which translates into publishers losing power to critics as the principal mediator between artist and audience?
- And will (not would) that be a good thing or a bad thing? Do you prefer the current music industry model or the old one?
- Incidentally, in an e[-]book world, what happens to children's publishing?
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
IF A TREE IS FELLED IN THE WOODS TO MAKE A BOOK THAT NOBODY READS: A few questions and observations I had after reading the iPad comments, which moved quickly from the tablet itself to a discussion of e-books (or ebooks, see below) and the future of that industry:
Posted by Isaac Spaceman at 3:56 PM