"As an early participant in the 'Open eBook Initiative,' I had the pleasure
of meeting with representatives of leading publishing concerns at the
headquarters of R.R. Donnelley & Sons in Chicago, early in 1999. The
discussion was heady stuff -- nothing less than the future of books. At one
point, a direct descendant of the venerable R.R. Donnelley himself directed
my attention to a panel that slid from the wall, displaying a page from the
Gutenberg Bible. The juxtaposition was striking.
"As noted ... in your broadcast, these new technologies are still
in their infancy, especially in terms of copyright protection. In addition,
they are not yet in widespread use by the general public.
"Adobe Systems offers special software products named 'Web Buy' and 'PDF
Merchant' designed for the secure sale of content from the Internet.
Microsoft and Xerox have recently announced the formation of ContentGuard
Inc., which promises to allow a document's author, publisher, distributor
or seller to secure it against piracy, track its movements, and require
users to pay before using it. However, as noted in your interview,
Stephen King's electronic novella Riding the Bullet survived less than
48 hours, before pirated copies started to surface on the Internet.
According to The New York Times, the May 23 announcement about the release
of Michael Crichton's thriller Timeline and other titles for the Pocket
PC was made 'even if it is not clear yet how protected the electronic
titles are from hackers.'
"In 1999, the first generation of hardware devices specifically designed
for reading electronic books (the Rocket eBook, SoftBook, GlassBook, etc.)
became available to public. At present, however, compared to millions and
millions of desktop and laptop computers, the number of dedicated eBook
reading devices in use is extremely limited. The new Pocket PC with
Microsoft Reader holds the promise of bringing eBooks more squarely into
mainstream markets -- but again, it will take time before the number of
Pocket PCs even begins to approach the ubiquity of the desktop or laptop
"Why, then, are major publishers jumping on the eBook bandwagon?
"The answer is simple: the economic advantages of e-publishing are so
compelling that the New York houses can no longer ignore them.
"By drastically reducing the physical expenses and economic risks that
have traditionally been borne by publishers, electronic distribution
will change the entire dynamic of what 'publishing' means in the new
"Eliminating waste and slashing production costs will change the publisher's
focus from 'playing it safe' with commercial material, to a new era of
innovation and creativity that benefits readers and writers alike.
"No one knows exactly what the future holds, but it seems certain that
e-publishing is here to stay -- and that it will dramatically alter the
way writers and publishers reach readers in the 21st century."
-- Danny O. Snow
Click HERE for a sound byte from NPR.
(Requires the RealAudio Player)
Click HERE for other media reportage in which Snow has been quoted.
start-up costs are minimal;
little economic risk is required;
UP provides top quality technical work;
appearance of books is surprisingly attractive;
most titles can be in circulation within 4 months;
broad distribution and initial promotion are included!
HERE to request more information.
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