Along the E-Book Trail

Barnes and Noble, which we said a while ago was about to launch its own e-book reader, is now saying that this will exist in the world as of next month, says the Wall Street Journal. It will have a six inch screen, a virtual keyboard, and a wireless connection from AT&T.  B&N’s e-bookstore launched earlier in the year, allowing Blackberry and iPhone owners to download books to those devices.  Which will make a six inch screen look positively gargantuan.   You may recall that B&N made deals with other e-book manufacturers to use their e-bookstore for content.

Google, of course, is getting into the act as well. Their online bookstore, which will launch in the first or second quarter will allow users to read from any web browser, rather than a dedicated device. So you could access through G-mail any book that you bought and paid for through Google Checkout on a PC, cell phone, netbook or laptop. The service, called Google Editions, will finally give Google a revenue stream from its book ventures, including its controversial Google Books project.  Google Editions would give publishers 63% of revenue when it sells books directly to consumers.  Which brings up a big question – why the middleman?  Well, it will give consumers a central place to go for books, rather than to each publisher.   From Yahoo Tech: Forrester media analyst Sarah Rotman Epps said Google would not necessarily steal market share from Amazon, although it would strengthen the position of others who support open standards usable across a range of devices, such as Sony’s.

 Another entrant  in the digital book space is LibreDigital, a digital publishing company that works with publishers, authors, retailers and social networking sites to offer free chapters online.  This week the company offered up some information that might be of interest to all of those scrambling for e-book market share before the market solidifies.  They looked at 18 moths of data on how readers use their service.  Here are their findings: previews markedly increase sales (which anyone who’s spent time in a brick-and-mortar bookstore could tell you). Women spend 70% more time browsing for books than men do.  The average reader spends about 15 minutes browsing, and reads 46 pages of each book they browse. Romance titles are browsed chiefly between 11 PM and 1 AM, whereas business books are browsed during working hours.


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