Dozing at the Wheel

Kassia Kroszer thinks that book publishers are missing a great opportunity. The new iPhone has appeared and there appear to be hardly any books available for it. Surely there should be lots of best sellers and front list in the App Store?

Call me crazy, but I’d expect an industry that salivates over moving 150,000 units to be all over the potential for reaching seven million “mobile is the future” customers. Are you not out there, listening to readers, gauging their interest? They want, you have, and you’re still hiding the goods. I get this isn’t the largest market you have, but is that an excuse to sit on the sidelines? Sittin’ Here Watching the Market Go By

Kassia is right to expostulate. The iPhone is great for publishers (whether of books or magazines) because it facilitates subscriptions and sales (the system is comparable to iTunes) but it is also great for advertising backed publishing — because the Geo-location adds significant potential to the rate card. I dont know why publishers are being so slow, but I do not think that Kassia’s explanation is right. She says:

If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say most publishers are waiting for someone to offer them a pre-packaged solution that somehow fulfills the crazy DRM requirements that publishers use to keep legitimate customers from easily accessing content while doing so very little to stop genuine piracy…

DRM is not the issue, most publishers have got over the DRM hangup. I think a more probable explanation is simple eBook fatigue. The promised golden age of eBooks has proven to be a false dawn so many times, that most publishers are taking a very ‘wait and see’ attitude. They will need convincing market feedback before they rustle up those PDF files and sign up to the distributor deals. Not so much dozing at the wheel, as whistling in the breeze with barely one hand on the tiller.

But somebody will soon leap into action and show the crowd how it is done. The iPhone is going to knock the Kindle for six.

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