Will Amazon’s Kindle win or lose? Too many variables to call.

Thanks Jorgen for an article at ITWorld that suggests eBook Reader Kindle will die a slow death in a competition with the various tablets coming on the market, while parent company Amazon will gradually win the monopoly on actual eBook sales (the books/content).

This, the article predicts, will be the result of a new world where tablets dominate. We’re told the new multifunction devices will win out over the special focus features of E Ink or E Paper-based eBook readers. I agree that tablets are going to be a dominant handheld tech-form, but if selling technology to a global market tells us anything, the next new machine does not necessarily mean the rubbish heap for the last old one.

The technology market is maturing, and represents a wide enough range of consumers. There will be room and demand for access to a technosphere of devices that suit individual preferences. While the competition is going to cause some extinctions, the variables in a global marketplace driven by consumers in different age, economic, political or cultural backgrounds will make market predictions like the article’s more and more difficult to make.

It’s not an either or situation. Price is the only thing that will drive Kindle out of the hardware business. If they continue to overcharge for a conglomeration of fairly old technology that has relatively few functions, then sooner or later, someone is going to price an eBook Reader (or other device) based on its function. (We’ve talked about the $99 price point being the key to eBook Reader ubiquity…)

Amazon should retain the eBook (the books/content) selling crown, but it is a vast, flexible and unique marketplace that is changing the game, or is it changing the change. When an author or publisher can sell directly to the reader, middlemen have to remain relevant. So, price will decide this race too, yah?

eBook Readers do well at the Consumer Electronics Show

As the dust settles on the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2010, we’re starting to see these ‘best gadgets’ or ‘best product’ lists come out. eBook Readers and eReading Devices did exceptionally well over at The Huffington Post in Stephanie Vaughn Hapke’s “Top Eleven Products from the Show.”

Check it out here.  Exciting times ahead for digital publishing, yah?

Associated Press and Google News talks break down…

Associated Press (AP), the venerable news gathering agency, seems to be struggling with the realities of the digital publishing revolution. Here talks with Google’s news gathering source have broken down. The talks centered on a licensing agreement Google has with the Associated Press that allows them to host its content on Google properties like Google News. Google says there will be no new AP content hosted pending resolution of the disagreement.

 The net result is Google is no longer hosting new AP stories in their news search results. Read the full story at CNNMoney.com.

Associated Press has a problem. As a news content collector and distributor, they only profit from the sale of that content through deals struck with news and media sources. They don’t have a ‘homepage’ that can be monetized with ads etc. in ways similar to news reporting outlets. Those organizations directly benefit from traffic collected and redirected by Google searches. The Internet and digital publishing is starting to cut into AP’s territory. One can understand their dismay, since they’ve been around from the beginning when news was only available on paper, yah?

But AP has to let it go. That’s the past. The digital publishing world demands an adapt or die strategy. Let’s hope they figure it out and make a course change. We need the Associated Press, if not for their content as a primary source, then at least we need their skills as painstaking collectors and distributors of information.

Perhaps that’s what AP should do: Become a news or content substantiation or fact evaluation service. An Associate Press stamp of approval would go a long way in validating an Internet news provider, don’t you think?

The nook by Barnes & Noble grabs “Best Gadget” honor at the 3rd annual Crunchies Awards.

NewsBlaze says Barnes & Noble’s eBook Reading device the nook picked up the “Best Gadget” honor at the Crunchies Awards, a win previously captured by Apple iPhone in 2007. It’s just the shot in the arm the gadget needs after a shaky start over the holiday with last minute receipt as Christmas gift, slightly wonky software and a couple crashes of the Barnes and Noble eBook store. I’m still a little worried about their tampering with EPUBs to make them B&N friendly only, but like most large companies dealing in content, they’re bound to learn the lessons the hard way.

Way to go nook!

Experiment in DRM-Free eBooks

Thanks Jorgen for this link to a story at boingboing.net about author David Pogue’s experiment where he released a DRM-free eBook to see if the unlocked eBook would have an impact on overall sales of that title. The results were what we’ve been saying all along.

A locked eBook only punishes paying customers, yah?

More from (and about) the Consumer Electronics Show

Here’s another installment from the media storm surrounding the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas and the resulting explosion in the eBook Revolution.

First CNN has an overview and a bit of history of the CES here.

MacWorld.com reports here on COOL-ER’s introduction of new eBook models, one of which touts the small Sony-pocket Edition size while keeping a larger 6″ display screen.

Pocket-lint.com has a story here about the Bookeen Cybook Orizon now rigged with 3G wireless and boasting a super-thin profile. They hope to steal the gasp-factor from Kindle. Lots of pics. Check them out.

BNET.com has an article here suggesting the true power of the eBook Revolution resides not in the hardware but with the publishing platform. Interesting take on it. (Again, I refuse to believe it’s an either/or scenario.)

More from eBook Heaven (Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas…)

Another information Bomb from the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas. The eBook Revolution is shifting to high gear!

Technology for the Soul reports here that iriver took a moment out of the CES to announce that its Story (eBook Reader) was coming to America “later this month” and that a WiFi enabled version was coming sometime in 2010.

Pocketlint.com says here that Spring Design’s ALEX was finally priced and a release date set. The $399 price tag won’t run well beside Kindle’s $259 but they’re relative newbies to the market with lots to learn.

I don’t think this was announced at the CES but what the hell, Bookseller.com reports here that Vodaphone and Go-Spoken have announced their plan to open an m-book store (m-book = mobile book). That should happen by the end of the month.

Another non-CES post at The Link here announcing a late-January launch of Viewsonic’s VEB612 eBook Reader. Its profile is sleek and tantalizing, but the name really needs a bit of a re-think, yah?

Consumer Electronics Show (eBOOK HEAVEN!)

With the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) going full guns, we’re getting swamped with new devices competing for space. In light of that and in an effort to give equal time, I’m just going to bomb you with a bunch of links. Check them out for pics, video and more. Anyone suggesting that 2010 is not going to be the Year of the eBook Reader is nuts, yah?

eBookNewser.com highlights the enTourage eDGe eBook Reader here. Cool looking machine with a double screen format.

Liliputing.com is showing us Samsung’s surprise entry of four new eBook Reader models at this link. Check out the pictures. There’s a Buck Rogers look to the device, but it grows on you.

TorrentBomb.com is talking about the Liquavista Full-color eBook Reader here. Don’t let the color fool you, apparently it’s not LED but uses the same E Ink technology used in other readers.

Notebooks.com has video on Fujitsu’s long-anticipated full color eBook Reader at this link. A sweet looking ride there.

Pocketlint.com talks about the Plastic Logic Que proReader. We’ve been waiting for this sleek piece of machinery for a year now. Check out the story and pictures here. Apparently, the Que has a deal with Barnes and Noble to share shelf space with the Nook.

I’ll bomb you with another list of machines tomorrow.

Blio – The Future of Electronic Reading?

Thank you Jorgen for a link to a story at APPSCOUT fresh from CES (Consumer Electronics Show) 2010 about Blio, a platform that boasts a wide range of options for publishers that include adding text-to-speech, color photos, and video content directly to their eBook formats.

Its designer, voice-recognition inventor, kngb founder, and The Singularity is Near author Ray Kurzweil says “the future of electronic reading won’t be on dedicated hardware, but on a wide range of multifunction devices.” Despite his obvious street-cred I still consider this an opinion.  A lot of people have talked about this integration of function, but it’s such a volatile marketplace full of so many new advances in hardware and software that it’s impossible to predict with any degree of certainty. I think the truth and the future of electronic reading will reflect the diverse interests of those who adopt the devices and formats.

The site proclaims Blio is: “the new touchstone for the presentation of electronic books & magazines. Stunning, full-color pages come alive in brilliant 3D. Even image-rich books are now at your digital fingertips — because Blio preserves a book’s original layout, fonts, and graphics.”

Sounds great, but it looks like we’re going to have to wait until February for an operational model, yah?

**THIS JUST IN: (Consumer Electronics Show, Las Vegas) – Microsoft and HP have unveiled their own SLATE PC ahead of APPLE’S much rumored Tablet. It’s tricked out to read eBook and do a whole lot more. Read the story and get video here. – JC

The History of Publishing 2010-2020

P. Bradley Robb has written a fantastic serial (series?) over at Fictionmatters.com called “The History of Publishing 2010-2020.” If you’ve been keeping up with recent developments in the eBook Revolution, and if you’re the least bit serious about the technology or what it promises for the future, you MUST take the time to read this.

It’s a well-written look at future-history that I think will be bang-on in most of its predictions. It’s chock-full of irony, too. Enjoy!