Reading a recent article about the new Sony Ebook device I couldn’t help think that we are almost to the tipping point in Digital Publishing where it becomes mainstream instead of niche.
For this to truly happen consumers have to pressure publishers and retailers to agree on a universal format and universal portability. Having to buy a device that costs several hundred dollars is bad enough. Having that choice limit your selection of titles is worse.
Imagine if buying a Sony Blu-Ray player meant would could only buy Blu-Ray discs sold by Best Buy and buying a Phillips Blu-Ray player limited your choices to only those sold by Amazon.Com. That would be nonsensical. It is no less nonsensical when the product is books and magazines rather than movies and tv shows.
The recent HD-DVD vs. Blu-Ray wars were incredibly expensive for consumers and retailers and delayed the move forward to high definition video for a couple of years while the battle played out.
Content should not be a captive to hardware. The formats of these books are all relatively similar any way and the only thing that has to happen is for a group to come up with a common rights management scheme that everyone can adopt.
If DVD players can all agree on a standard platform and management scheme so can ebook readers. It is up to the consumers to demand that they work toward this goal.