Penguin BooksThe Penguin Group, which has experimented with a novel wiki, is showing interest in e-media in yet another way—through the appointment of Genevieve Shore as its first global digital director.

Her turf will include new initiatives, partnerships and innovations, reports Publishers Weekly. Congrats. TeleBlog readers can scroll down a Penguin-related page for a brief interview with her in her present job as Penguin Group UK Sales Director.

A long aside: Here’s a suggestion for her and others looking for practical innovations. Maybe it’s time for publishers to figure out new ways not just to sell books but also services—both theirs and their authors. For example, can’t an expert on Topic X get paid by library systems and readers for services moderating forums inside interactive books of the kind that companies such as VitalSource, OSoft and Adobe will make possible (as will the foundation-funded Sophie project)? IBM has survived by increasing the percentage of services-related revenue; maybe it’s time for publishers to do the same. Some publishers are already getting into the seminar and education businesses. But it would be good for their bottom lines if they more closely linked these services to actual books—something that interactivity will allow. The higher the percentage of revenue associated with services, not just e-files, the less vulnerable publishers will be to losses from piracy.

OK, now back to The News—about the Sony Reader in this case: The p-edition of this Sunday’s Washington Post book supplement—and I suspect newspapers in other cities—carries a full page ad on the back for the Sony Reader. That suggests commitment to the product. I’m not a big fan of the reader, but apparently enough people disagree with me to justify the increased advertising. The Post ad, which mentions Borders and other outlets for the Readers, shows an airport lounge and reads in part: “Fit 80 books in your carry-on,” and offers $50’s credit toward book purchases. Cool so far. What I don’t like is a little photo that may lead some readers to conclude that the reader screen can glow on its own. Hey, Sony, let ’em know that the paperlike screen reflects light rather than creates it—this isn’t the optimal device for a less-than-fully-lit lounge, at least not without an auxiliary light.

Update, April 23: Alex at MobileRead has a color image of the ad. I’ll repro it here.

Related: CircuitCity customers’ reviews of the reader.


  1. Sony DRM, anyone? Remember the rootkit disaster? Well. they’ve done it again. Who wants to run the risk that an overzealous Sony executive will decide that it’s time to make you pay for your eBooks all over again?

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