Mathew Ingram believes that pinning hopes on a tablet from any vendor will save the publishing industry is just wasted energy:
As Om noted in a post about the Kindle HD, everyone talks about the iTunes model and the iPod, but while those devices have been phenomenally successful for Apple itself, the music industry as a whole is still a complete mess. A single device, however powerful or magical, can’t change the entire cost structure of an industry. The publishing industry should spend more time thinking about how their business is changing fundamentally — regardless of what platform the content appears on — and less time thinking about how to make a Hail Mary pass to one specific platform.
Myself I’m hoping for more electronic publishing, regardless of platform, and suspect the books I write in the future will follow a model of text content tied with additional multimedia content that builds on the chapters. This is exactly how Using WordPress is coming together. Each chapter has screencasts and a podcast that compliment the chapter. In fact I wait until I’ve finished a chapter before I finalize my multimedia content so I make sure I can focus on the things in the chapter that will help readers the most.
Editing a WordPress theme makes a lot more sense if you can watch me edit an example while you read about it. The next step will be to jump from the e-reader to leaving a question or comment related to that chapter on a site.
Speaking of e-readers, I think whatever Apple has planned is making Amazon a wee nervous:
Whether or not a war really is coming, Amazon clearly doesn’t want to be left behind. And the bottom line is that’s great news for us consumers. Amazon’s revenue-sharing model has been one of the major barriers to getting more content available for the platform, and now that they’re feeling the heat from Apple, be it real or imagined, the floodgates are open.
Which I can’t complain about in the least. Of course I would love for publishers to provide eReaders and electronic versions of books to authors. I’d love to be able to skim through other Pearson pubs that might relate to what I’m currently writing or might post about here.
I’m not holding my breath for a big package coming in the mail anytime soon though.
Maybe I’m just being a Pollyanna about ereaders and publishing, but I’d like to think people will pay for a book electronically, especially if it costs less than paper and offers more content (like the directors cut of movies). Regardless, until the 27th, I think we all have to just sit back and wait to see what cards Apple throws down.