Q: What will you miss when newspapers are gone?

Answer: Nothing!

All that’s really gone is the “paper”, the “news” will still be there, and that’s all that matters… how you get it shouldn’t matter (of course we have plans for that!).

Finally, someone else gets it, and thankfully that someone is Seth Godin (so hopefully a lot of people will listen & take note).

As I mentioned in my Shift Happens post last month, “the newspaper industry appears to have forgotten what they’re really about, which is delivering “News” not newspapers, “paper” is merely the delivery mechanism. The next generation will simply want whatever is most convenient and most up to date, as we say, no paper is the future™. It’s time for publishing houses worldwide to wake up, accept the sea of change, and prepare for it, otherwise those ready to embrace the advantages of the new formats and market space will out pace them. If the old guard don’t step up to the plate, new ePublishing houses will appear on the scene giving the audience what they want.

Will eBooks, replace paper books & newspapers? absolutely… but at the end of the day, does it really matter which format prevails, as long as more people are reading & writing, who cares how it’s delivered, we’ll all be winners!”

There’s more to eBooks than Books!

Here’s an interesting snippet of news, Verizon is looking for eBook Reader partners for it’s Open Development program. This approach would of course take Amazon’s Kindle head on, which is great news for consumers everywhere, but there’s a comment at the end asking can anyone take on Amazon, as they have existing relationships with publishers, but I don’t think that’s a problem.

I don’t see the future of eBook Readers as simply devices that hold numerous published books, that’s a tiny market compared to blogs, news, internal company files & manuscripts. Having a device that can remotely connect and download the latest files off your company servers or collate the news for you from your preferred news networks etc when you’re on the road is a great asset. eBook-Readers will be the mainstay for the business traveler, road warrior or remote technician/support staff, that requires up to date information on a device which batteries won’t run out after only a few hours!

Forget literature & published books, think information, think unpublished content, think business documents, think data retrieval, think user generated content, think open formats, think free content! It’s estimated we read 10 times as much business documentation than we do compared to books for leisure, so Amazon may have relationships with book publishers but there’s a huge untapped market out there waiting to be accessed!

Foxit eSlick Reader Announced

Foxit Software announced today that it will be selling it’s very own branded eBook Reader, the eSlick Reader for the amazingly low introductory price of only $229.99 (then $259.99), which is incredible when compared to Sony’s eReader $399 and Amazon’s Kindle $359.

The eSlick has a 6 inch, 600×800 pixel screen, which uses the same display technology as the Kindle as supplied by E Ink Corporation. The unit weights just 6.4 ounces (180g) and is only 0.4 inches thick (9.2mm). It has 128meg of memory, capapble of holding hundreds of books, with a battery life of over 8,000 page turns.

The eSlick is expected to ship in 5-7 weeks, but unfortunately will only be available within the US.

For more details visit Foxit Software

Shift Happens, Are You Ready?

The following is an edited version of a post from my personal blog

I recently found my notes from a presentation I gave 13 years ago, at the time upon seeing it, everyone I knew thought I was nuts, as the basis of the presentation was simple All music will be available online for free, or so cheap that it might as well be” as the distributors and artist will make their money in other ways, concerts, t-shirts sales, merchandise etc in essence giving the customers what they want.

Look at the music industry in the past 10 years then think about what I said back then, just how crazy was I? The labels tried DRM, it didn’t work (DRM free did), they tried to keep prices high, that didn’t work either, they were too slow to move with the tide. You only have to look at the likes of Jamendo to see the predictions coming to fruition, entirely free, good quality, legal music downloads.

The movie industry is doing the same, they think they’re safe due to movie file sizes, but they’re not, data speeds are going up, compression improving, portable players increasing… DVD’s have a 2-3 year life expectancy, HD-DVD & Blu-Ray was undoubtedly the last physical format war, everything will be online & instantly available very very soon!

As they say, “Shift Happens”, the newspaper & journal industry in it’s current form is on it’s last legs, they appear to have forgotten what they’re really about, which is delivering “News” not newspapers, paper is merely the delivery mechanism, but it’s days are numbered, newspapers & books are a dying format, there will be those that will cling on to the printed page as long as they can, but sooner or later you have to face up to the tide of change.

So there’s a mindset shift that needs to happen with those that like to read paper now, but the next generation won’t have the same limitations, they’ll simply want whatever is most convenient and most up to date, as we say, no paper is the future. Although a limiting factor currently is the hardware, reading on a computer screen or an iPhone isn’t great, eReaders that use e-Ink like the Kindle are so like reading paper, you hardly notice you’re not, and their costs are tumbling. It’s time for the publishing houses worldwide to wake up, accept the sea of change, and prepare for it, otherwise they better be ready to move over when the flood happens & those ready to embrace the advantages of the new formats and market space out pace them. If the old guard don’t step up to the plate, new ePublishing houses will appear on the scene giving the audience what they want (now where have I heard that before?)

Will eBooks, replace paper books & newspapers? absolutely… but at the end of the day, does it really matter which format prevails, as long as more people are reading & writing, who cares how it’s delivered, we’ll all be winners!

UPDATE 5th Feb 2009:
I just noticed the video below on Jaculynn Peterson’s old blog (she now has a new one!). It’s a video clip of Michael Rosenblum at The Society of Editors conference 2008, it would appear that we are kindred spirits!

Foldable OLED display mobile phone concept

Today at the FPD International Show in Yokohama, Samsung revealed a very interesting concept mobile phone. The standard looking phone, opens like a book to reveal a large colour display, using it’s AMOLED (Active Matrix OLED). Unfortunately this is still a concept, so no details on price or release date for availability.

Could this be the future of eBooks? I think so… I cannot help but be reminded of the Readius by Polymer Vision, while that device uses a 5″ flexible greyscale e-Ink display, and Samsung’s approach is more akin to using a book, they both tackle the same problem of carrying around a large display in your pocket. Sony are also developing a flexible OLED display.

Dynamic ECD Display uses 1% Power of traditional LCD

TOKYO, Nov 18, 2008: A wholly owned subsidiary of Funai Electric Co on Monday announced that it has made a reflective display using dyes that change color when an electric current is passed through them, that, unlike existing reflective LCDs, doesn’t need a backlight.

The company claims their display uses 0.16MW of electricity per square centimeter, which translates back to just 1% of what conventional LCDs need. Reportedly, clarity can still be compared to that of characters printed on a piece of paper. The display uses dyes changing color when exposed to an electric current.

Funai even says their new display boasts 80% reflectivity, 30% more than reflective LCDs so that images can be seen in sunlight more easily. On top of that, Funai doesn’t use thin-film transistors in the production of the screens, resulting in costs that are two-thirds lower than that of existing LCDs.

The company hopes to commercialize the product in 2009 and expects it to first find application in portable handsets and remote controls for consumer electronic devices. It will initially cultivate demand for 7- to 14-inch displays, with plans to develop larger models in the future.

It ultimately hopes to make the device an alternative to the LCDs currently used in mobile phones and e-books.

http://www.funai.jp

http://www.funaiworld.com

World’s First Five-Inch eBook Reader

BEIJING, Nov 03, 2008, Hanvon announces a new slim 5 inch e-ink eBook Reader. The device includes 1Gig of internal memory capable of storing hundreds of books & documents, mini USB connection, MP3 audio playback and allows text input for note taking. The Hanvon N510 Supports TXT, HTML, PNG, JPG, PDF, XEB, CEB, MP3, MTXT formats on its 167 PPI, SVGA (800 x 600 pixels) electronic paper display and will retail for $295.

further details here (Wall Street Journal)
Hanvon website (NB: link is in Chinese)