Bye Bye the eBook reader?

Personanondata finds an in interesting YouTube ‘concept’ for an Apple eBook reader.

The movie shows an iPod which fits into a folding tablet device which opens out to give two reading pages. Cute. I slot my iPod into a Bose speaker system, why shouldnt I slot my iPod into an eBook tablet?

But this vision of the book-specific hardware is all wrong. Yesterday Apple launched its eBook reader the iPhone. The hardware-specific eBook reader was and is a mirage. The eBook reader that matters is the humble familiar web browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera — you take your pick). Steve Jobs says that the iPhone is the best iPod ever. Its also the best eBook reader ever. The best phone, the best music player and the best eBook reader ever. All in one package, which does the phone and email as well. The iPhone will read Exact Editions digital magazines, but we still need photographic proof of that.

Google Book Search wasnt the first, but its method shows that digital editions will be page based (five years ago that was NOT obvious). All print pages will be web pages. Are becoming web pages. Once that equivalence is accepted its all down to the software which has to work within a web browser (preferably not Flash — which the iPhone does not support) and to the databases which run libraries and subscription services. Pages matter. Libraries matter. Databases matter most of all. eBooks dont… They really dont, they are just collections of web pages.

Print lives on the web (1)

There is a view that the web is such a potent and direly competitive medium that newspapers, magazines, books will not be able to meet the challenge. As though these wonderful cultural artefacts will be replaced by something else……. whatever that may be.

We think this gloom is misplaced. Print thrives on the web, and so far from being dead it gets a second life when relaunched as a digital edition and a searchable resource.

And its all too easy to underestimate the amazing cultural and social attachment we have to these systems of communication.

As an instance of the unreasonable love of newspapers and newspaper culture, consider Scott Walker, assistant managing editor of the The Birmingham News, Birmingham Alabama, who has re-engineered a coin-operated newspaper box so that it now sits in his living room and displays on an LCD the current front pages of his favourite newspapers.

We think its time that some devotee of magazines, took a leaf from Scott Walker’s book and made the real coffee-table magazine. Manolis Kelaidis is already building the book with circuitry which hyperlinks.

Hat tip to Martin Stabe.

Dennis Publishing

Timing is everything in magazine publishing. In business.

The Guardian tells us that Dennis have sold some of their big US magazines for £121 million (think that is only a rumoured price). A year ago EMAP simply closed the US edition of its FHM which competes with Dennis’s Maxim, included in the sale. But Dennis will hold on to The Week, which has been extremely successful in the US. Growing rapidly in the last three years.

EMAP are reportedly being circled by Private Equity. Perhaps the winning PE house should simply put Felix Dennis in charge.