eBooks like the Kindle will change publishing’s business modell
September 22, 2008 by ruediger

In an essay for the Vienna daily Der Standard (in German here) I tried to make sense of the new generation of electronic reading devices such as Amazon’s Kindle, Sopny’s eReader or the iLiad.

I am convinced that they will push the cause of online publishing and reading on screens substantially, but which is more interesting still is what side effects online publishing may cause.

I assume that little may change for the bestselling segment, at least in the medium term, because large print runs and big marketing dollars or Euros still have the best and most effective model in printed books and on the current retail structure (which, of course, includes already a lot of powerful change driven by digital elements, starting with Amazon and how it deeply affects book selling – see the recent piece in New York Magazine).

But for all those many – and ever growing – numbers of titles  that make up the cultural diversity of books, and by that the Long Tail, everything may change with considerable punch and speed.

And with this, we may face a changing business model for electronic books rather sooner than later. As already with music, internet acces or scientific journals, paying for access in the form of some subscription or flat rate may prove to be the model of choice, against paying per item which we usually do when we purchased a book in the past.

This, of course, would trigger enormous chain reactions across the book industry and book culture. (More on this soon here).

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