The Great Debate UK
from Reuters Investigates:
Mark Egan's special report "Dumping print, NY publisher bets the ranch on apps" focuses on one man who believes the end has come for printed books.
Since 1980, Nicholas Callaway has made the finest of design-driven books, building a publishing house and his fortune on memorable children's stories and on volumes known for the fidelity of their reproductions of great art. But the quality of paper, ink and binding mean nothing to him now.
For Callaway, it's all about apps -- small applications sold in Apple's App Store where books are enhanced beyond the mere text of e-books. In this cutting-edge new medium, cooks can clap hands to turn pages of an interactive recipe, a book about Richard Nixon can include footage of him sweating during presidential debates, a Sesame Street character can read a story out loud and, should your child get bored, the app can turn the tale into a jigsaw puzzle or a computerized finger-painting set.
As tablet sales soar in the coming years -- experts are saying 82 million Americans will have one by 2015 -- publishers face a tough decision. Margins are a lot higher on traditional hard cover printed books, even with the high cost of printing, shipping and dealing with returns. But as sales of e-books overtake print and consumers get used to books that feature more than just words, will it be possible to keep doing both?
The electronic book market is looking increasingly hot, flat and crowded. A vicious price war has broken out among producers of digital readers thanks to Apple's success with the iPad. Companies such as Amazon hope that selling tomes across multiple devices will fill the profit gap. But competition in e-book distribution is heating up and could pressure margins there, too.
Apple has sold more than 3 million iPads in about two-and-a-half months. While Amazon doesn't give figures, analysts think it has sold a similar number of its Kindle e-readers in two-and-a-half years.
Technology market research firm Gartner Inc has published the 2009 "Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies," its effort to chart out what's hot or not at the cutting edge of hi-tech jargon. It's just one of an annual phalanx of reports that handicap some 1,650 technologies or trends in 79 different categories for how likely the terms are to make it into mainstream corporate parlance.
Jackie Fenn, the report's lead analyst and author of the 2008 book "Mastering the Hype Cycle," delivers the main verdict:
- Mic Wright is Online News Editor at Stuff. The views expressed are his own -
When Amazon got rightly torn to shreds for remotely killing copies of 1984 on the Kindle, I thought it would be the most idiotic tech story of the year. But I was wrong. Apple’s just upped the ante by banning rude words from a dictionary application – stripping us of the virtual equivalent of looking up obscenities in French class.
Ninjawords Dictionary, a dictionary app from the creators of the excellent website of the same name, is available from the iTunes Store for £1.19. When you go to download it you will be faced with a warning that it “might contain material objectionable to children under 17″. Based on conversations I overhear on the train daily, I think that’s unlikely.