So what will be the impact of the iPad and emerging tablets on publishing?
DRM (digital rights management)
MP3 DRM free music gained acceptance not through iTunes, which had its own DRM, but through the need to transfer music between devices and buy or acquire it from many places. Interoperability is a need that many seek, but it often achieved behind closed doors.
The news that Barnes and Noble are to deploy an app for the iPad which effectively sells ebooks outside of ‘Fortress Apple’ will no doubt be followed by everyone else who has a store outside of the orchard. If permitted by Apple’s gatekeepers it would seriously question the need for iBookstore.
However the interesting news is consumers will now be able to load non-DRM ePub titles to the iPad device via iTunes. We all thought that the iPad would use only files protected by their ‘fair Play’ DRM, but this latest announcement clearly changes this. Does it mean you can effectively transfer files that are already DRM protected by the likes of Adobe’s ACS4 platform , or as expected is it only non DRM files. Permitting and even encouraging non DRM files actually also introduces interoperability. The big question is whether this will fuel consumers demand to finally break the DRM ebook straightjacket?
We are all probably confused as to what ebook pricing is going to prevail under the current agency fixated world of hype and counter spin. However, the introduction of stores within apps on the iPad introduces noe not only introduces multiple offers it could introduce comparison apps. It is easy to see price comparison starts a clear must have. After all why pay anything more than the lowest price for a digital download, when what you get is exactly the same, irrespective of brand, offer or app?
Tablet A Go Go
We know HP, Dell and Joo Joo are to enter the tablet market. There is bound to be big battles on Flash versus HTML5, Internet versus apps, LCD versus OLED, online versus download.
The tablet isn’t the finally solution but another step towards it.
Finally we were clearing out some cupboards yesterday and came across three devices; a Psion organizer, a VHS tape and a Dictaphone. None of them survived and all went to the tip.
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