Publishing Business Conference: The future of ebooks – executive panel
March 20, 2012 | 11:56 am
By Paul Biba
David Renard, Partner, mediaIDEAS, moderator: most of the mindshare, not necessarily the market, is going to tablets. Everybody relying on a walled garden right now for selling ebooks and this makes publishers into technology companies.
Sriram Peruvemba, Chief Marketing Officer, E Ink Holdings: owned by a paper company! Over a billion dollars in revenue last year. In the case of textbooks believe that everything will go electronic. Find the biggest pull is in the developing countries that do not have the funds to build libraries. With third generation of e-ink achieved most of their goals and now working on color. Have a first generation and the next step is to achieve a richer color display. Thinks e-ink will be good in the school market cause can make the screen out of plastic and make it essentially unbreakable. Tablet reading experience is no different from reading on a laptop and so believes that e-ink will always have a place.
Matthew Cavnar, VP Product & Business Development, Vook: published over 800 ebooks and building ebooks is a painful process. As a result developed a software platform to do it and changed the direction of the company. Learned that not really building a book for a reader, in the digital world are building a file for a distributor. One of the biggest problems in the ebook world today is the restrictions that devices place on content. Will eventually have a tablet in every home. iPad will remain the most prevalent device and it heralds a move away from laptop and desktop devices. People still want to read plain text and tablets have made the delivery of words quick and easy. In most cases with devices, a store controls the relationship with the device. Because of this publishers need a way to get directly on the device so that they can maintain a relationship to the consumer.
Jeff Matthews, Corporate Strategy, Scholastic Media: since are exclusively a children’s publisher have to deal with a group that has very different needs than adult reader. Ebook penetration is very low in this market. Still trying to figure out how kids read and what they need to read on digital devices. Paper is not going away, will always be a roll for paper picture books. iPad is a proof of concept but for there to be ubiquitous digital reading need devices at lower price points. E-ink is optimized for trade paper, but does not cover the variety of uses in the children’s market. Not clear yet as to who owns the relationship with the consumer. Book publishers tend not to be good book sellers. Ebooks has opened a whole new market for Scholastic – the young adult book.