Is E-book Innovation at a Stand Still? | Publishing Perspectives

Is E-book Innovation at a Stand Still? | Publishing Perspectives

via Is E-book Innovation at a Stand Still? | Publishing Perspectives.

For the consumer market, my answer to this headline’s question is: Duh, of course it’s at a standstill. It’s been an uphill battle just getting content out of publishers into a form that can be displayed through digital devices… there really isn’t much difference in the content being produced. Books represent the way content is produced (linear); and while the web and ebook reading devices have the capability to break this mold, they do little to empower authors to create such content. There’s also good old human nature– authors tell stories, whether you’re talking about research or scholarly content or a work of fiction. Those stories are meant to be read from beginning to end…any jumping around in time or subject is at the author’s discretion, not the readers. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’ve come to a point where innovation has stalled a bit. The emergence of ebooks is just the first step toward creating a completely new type of content. Now, copyright and distribution agreements lock content into containers, whether digital or physical, that are familiar. The devices let us do things like look up words or run a web search on a given term… you can’t really call that innovation, because that was being done long before the emergence of ebooks, it’s just a little easier now. What will constitute the next generation of ebooks, the next round of innovation, will have to be something big– something that allows the content to break free from its masters and provides the reader with something really new– now, I might have some ideas about what that might be, but I’ll save that for another post. For now, I’ll just reiterate, yes innovation is at a stand still.

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