Gemstar‘s e-book division is now more or less kaput, but what if outsiders bought it and you could buy similar hardware, new? Or at least benefit from a better bookstore arrangement–maybe even with fairer prices?

Perhaps there’s hope. On the RCAebooks list, I’ve just spotted the following from an Alabamian named Mark Bodenhausen:

I am currently working on a proposal for a group of investors interested in Gemstar’s eBook division. The proposal includes a revised business and marketing plan and I wanted to hear input from you all about what you specifically liked or disliked about your eBook.

Among the questions:

How much would you be willing to pay for server space? Proposed fees are $20 a year for storage up to 10MB with an auto-upload feature for Outlook and Outlook Express email users that would provide digest versions of local email as well as documents.

For more details, including other questions, contact Mark Bodenhausen. Meanwhile let’s hope that Gemstar will be open to a deal.

Further thoughts: The real attraction is the hardware. It’s not the most up to date but at $100-$125 could provide real value. What if Bodenhause and friends did a tablet that worked more gracefully with HTML and ASCII and even had provisions for an Open eBook format? And could read Microsoft Reader and Mobipocket books, too?

Bodenhause could keep the bookstore open in the interim to serve existing owners, but I doubt that’s where the real money is. While ex-Gemstar CEO and present SEC target Henry Yuen tried to succeed through exclusiveness, the best bet for investors would be the opposite–openness.

This is strictly a bottom-line question. Bodenhuasen happens to chair the Libertarian Party of Alabama, but I believe that this fact will be pretty irrelevant as long as he understands the appeal of an open approach and also does not discriminate against books with which he disagrees.


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