August 18, 2010
The introduction of the Amazon Kindle started a new generation in electronic book (or ebook) development. In 1998, I thought that NuvoMedia had finally found an acceptable electronic reader with the Rocket eBook. Unfortunately, RCA bought the company, and were never able to successfully license content. Consequently, that device slowly went away
It looks like this round of development may actually gain traction. The first indicator is that more than one vendor is developing hardware. Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and Apple have all weighed into the ebook reader environment this time around. Even more important, Amazon and B&N have significant relationships with traditional print publishers. That is something that NuvoMedia never had. In addition, using their model for music and iPods, Apple’s iTunes Store is the premier source for downloading licensed content to a device.
If you can make a device intuitive and cost-effective, it has a chance. If you can provide access to things people want to read/download, that will be a major step forward. Be looking for other posts as I “handicap” the ebook reader horserace and discuss its impact on libraries.
Steven V. Potter
Director of Libraries