Amazon Kindle backs Textbook Publishers into a corner

  If you haven’t heard, Amazon has announced the Kindle DX. A 9.7 inch Wireless reading device with a larger screen made for reading textbooks and newspapers. Now this is all great news for technology and e-books. But as I listened to the TWIT podcast episode 194 they talked about what this device really is about. More important than the size of this device is that starting with the DX it will allow people to upload and view PDF files. Now this might not seem like a lot but as they said on TWIT and what I agree with is that Amazon has just opened the door to a whole new round of piracy and have backed publishers into a corner to force textbook to be created in the Amazon Kindle format. How so? Well let us pretend for a second we’re in college and you are trying to save that $110 for something more important than a textbook (in college there are many things more important than a textbook 🙂 ). What if you and your buddy could split the cost of the textbook, use one of the scanners in the school, scan the book to PDF and then put it on your Kindle? What if students from other universities did the same and then shared those files using Bit Torrent or P2P Networks basically giving the book away for free. Or how about this….most textbooks are in PDF format before they are actually printed. Much like pirated DVDs it takes one person to post the PDF of the book on the web for download to sidestep the publishers and give that content straight to students. Why hasn’t this happened already? Apple created the iTunes store which with the #1 MP3 player the iPod created both a need (music) with a want (iPod). Amazon has just done the same thing. The need (textbooks, books, newspapers, etc) now has the wanted hardware device…the Kindle. Amazon has just created a whole new round of piracy. So if you are a textbook publisher…or any publisher for that matter what are your choices? A) Continue to pretend that that Kindle does not exist and continue with your model of creating traditional textbooks. Then try to track down and stop piracy through the courts (because it worked so well for the music industry). B) Embrace that media and textbooks have changed that this...

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The niche of books

One thing is for sure. When you work with a powerful team like Tara and Kim you have conversations that end up turning into a lot of blog posts. 🙂 I have a sticky note I keep on my desk with ideas. I have an idea book that I keep in my backpack, and I have thoughts in my head that keep me awake at night. All ideas and thoughts that poor Tara and Kim have to listen to whether they want to or not. 😉 At a team meeting, with the above mentioned, a couple weeks ago we got on the topic of books. Now I’m sure I’m going to get some push back on this one, but I’m hoping it helps me to frame what I’m thinking (and it might be wrong) a little clearer…so please….feel free to push back. Up until recently books are what we have known. They were the holders of knowledge, they were the all mighty, the all knowing. If you wanted to know something you went to a book. If you wanted to drift off into a fantasy world, you read a book. If you wanted to heart felt story…you could find it in a book. It a book didn’t have the answer you went to a divine power. Today….we just go to Google Books are great. I love them on planes, on the beach and by the pool. Yes, I think books have a niche in today’s world. I just think it’s smaller then what we believe it to be. Simple questions: When was the last time you read a book? When was the last time you read a web page? When was the last time you read a letter addressed to you in the mail? (A real hand written letter) When was the last time you read an e-mail? When was the last time you looked up a phone number in the phone book? When was the last time you looked up a recipe in a recipe book? When was the last time you used an encyclopedia? When was the last time you went to a book before the web for non-fiction/relevant information? When was the last time you used an IM client (chat)? Now, take these questions and go ask them to your class, to a kid on the street, or the kid sitting next to you. Are the...

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