The Future of Reading

On Thursday morning, Steve Riggio stepped down as CEO of Barnes & Noble Booksellers. Replacing him is William Lynch, a veteran of HSN.com and other internet adventures. It appears as though Barnes & Noble sees the future in a different light.

Barnes & Noble’s nook was released in November of 2009. It became the gadget of the season. The nook is an e-reader, competing with Amazon’s Kindle and Sony’s eReader. With Lynch taking the helm of the booksellers, Barnes & Noble promises more development in ebooks, rather than real books. Of course, real books won’t go away. But, are you shooting yourself in the foot by driving off your customers?

It doesn’t look like Lynch envisions Barnes & Noble as an ereader kiosk in a mall, but the technology has advanced too quickly for publishers.  The low prices of ebooks has been called into question by publishers and not just the little guys.

HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, and Hatchette are all delaying the e-release of major titles appearing over the course of the year. These are three of the main publishers in the book industry. Compare this to Disney, Warner Brothers, and 20th Century Fox delaying the release of their DVDs to Netflix.com. What are you going to watch? What are you going to read?

The publishing companies are delaying for one reason: money. Ebooks do not generate the kind of profit the companies demand. They cost less to make, but when an ebook is sold for less than 50% of the hardcover list price, they don’t make up the cost as quickly.

Delay in buying an ereader for as long as possible. Books aren’t going away any time soon. Consumers will be caught in the battle between booksellers and book publishers.

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Posted on March 19, 2010, in Biz Tech, Internet and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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