Will the iPad and Kindle do to books what has happened to music? You have to believe they will. At the moment, it is the early adopters who are looking for books electronically, but it should not take too long to become mainstream.
It would be silly for publishers to become resisters rather than figuring ways to embrace the change that will happen, drive it, and thereby build a sustainable new business model. The core to that success will be the “ownership of the relationship” with the readers. Currently that is via the publisher who has control of the channel, apart from the few “big name” authors who have their own following, built after a publisher has invested in them.
The new e-readers offer a disintermediation opportunity for authors, one they will grab, so the role of the publisher is about to change, but how many of them see that?
Thinking about the potential for e-marketing of books also puts a gun to the head of the dumb restrictive publishing rules that exist in this country. I cannot buy a book published in the US in Australia unless a local publisher, or off-shoot of a British one, has chosen to publish here, adding another margin that has absolutely no value to me. Until recently, I did not have an option, then Amazon popped up, then the Kindle arrived, and now the iPad. Now there is a new set of rules emerging from the marketplace, and the existing regulations no longer have the control, so have become irrelevant.
Can somebody please tell the publishers and their cronies in the government, and I wouild not be too keen to buy shares in a book retailer wedded to the expensive shop front in Westfield.