Big publishers have to be very happy about how things have been developing in the ebook world over the last six months or so. In that time, we have gone from a situation in which Kindle appeared to so totally dominate digital reading that Kindle-only publishing seemed an imminent threat to disintermediate publishers to one where it is not only Amazon’s hegemony that is threatened. Even their position as the ebook market leader isn’t safe.
Well we all knew it was coming. The arrival of the iPad and the pressure that Apple suddenly began to apply to the Ebook Reader market was bound to have an effect, just as Apple and the iPhone forced the telecom industry to respond just by being there. I was also pretty sure that the first thing that the iPad would affect would be price. After all, it is the easiest thing for most tech vendors to change as it simply means cutting the margin finer, and it was sure to have a major effect on consumer and the tech press.
In a desperate industry trying to scramble together 1% growth after being smacked with the Great Recession, the idea of saving the average publisher $40,000 every year should be a popular one. Add to that a 40% reduction of the industry's carbon footprint, amounting to the carbon output equivalent of 2 million mid-sized cars, the saving of 60,000 acres worth of trees every year, and an additional $3 billion in profit industry-wide.
Strictly speaking, the paperback is a little older than 75. The first paperback got published in 1931. But this pioneering effort by German publisher Albatross Books failed to attract any takers. It was only in 1935 when Sir Allen Lane launched the now legendary Penguin Books that the paperback took off. The high quality books priced at 2.5 pence the same as a pack of 10 cigarettes were a runaway success. The age of the paperback was upon us.
In a sense, Toshiba will release the libretto W100 for a trial-and-error experience if it is regarded as an e-book reader. On the other hand, the actual release might make it easier to have business talks with content providers. It is possible that the company will make another move in the field of e-books in the future.