Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Book publishing on the iPad: Penguin Books to work around e-Pub format limitations by building apps

Penguin Group’s CEO John Makinson revealed his company's tablet strategy in a speech in London today.

“We will be embedding and streaming audio, video and gaming in to everything we do. This will present us, and the platform owners with technology challenges," Makinson said.

"The ePub format, which is the standard for ebooks at the present, is designed to support traditional narrative text, but not this cool stuff that we’re now talking about. So for the time being, at least, we’ll be creating a lot of our digital content as applications, for sale on app stores and HTML, rather than as ebooks."

These new enhanced books would sell, it is presumed, as individual applications, rather than as part of an online book store.

"The definition of the book itself is up for grabs," Makinson concluded.

The video of Makinson's talk was posted on YouTube by "parakeet" who may have a connection with paidContent.co.uk (if so, thank you for posting).

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Meanwhile, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said that he predicts that most iPad buyers will choose to purchase models without 3G capability. "My expectation is that there's not going to be a lot of people out there looking for another subscription," Stephenson said during a recent investor conference.

All iPad models offered by Apple will come with built-in WiFi capability. Additional models will also have 3G, but users will have to pay a data fee, similar to those required on smart phones. For many, Stephenson believes, the additional monthly charge will discourage choosing the more expensive models.

While Stephenson may be right initially, it is also possible that as Apple brings out new models, that this may change. For instance, a model with video conferencing capability -- requiring a front facing camera that is currently missing from the model demonstrated by Steve Jobs in January -- would be a reason for 3G.  Also, a rumor today about Netflix surveying their customers concerning iPhone film streaming could result in the same service on tablets.  Apple is rumored (no company has more "rumors" about it than Apple) to be interested in using cloud computing to stream video to users, as well.

While video streaming is certainly capable using WiFi, using 3G in areas where there is no free public WiFi available, such as airports, would be a popular option for many.

1 Comment:

PDalton said...

Good. I'm glad to see they won't just give iPad readers the same old text only products, but will utilize the formats multimedia capabilities. Will other publishers do the same?