I recently wrote about the quickening pace of developments in the e-book space. Well, as evidence, more has occurred this week.
Smashwords struck a deal last month to become the e-book provider to Barnes & Noble (effective October 2, 2009). Now, Sony has partnered with Smashwords as well (starting December 2009), giving authors published on that platform two major distribution outlets.
The Sony deal is particularly interesting, given Sony’s plans to sell its new touchscreen e-reader in Best Buy, Borders, and other major retailers. This approach makes it much more likely that broad adoption occurs, since Amazon‘s e-retailer muscle, while significant, won’t reach consumers who aren’t book wonks. Sony’s approach brings the bricks to the clicks.
Smashwords has been busy, supporting Operation eBook Drop for American troops abroad with e-readers (more than 60 authors are currently participating) and striking distribution deals with Sony and Barnes & Noble. And they’ve been improving their technology, adding a distribution center to their author interface and making other e-commerce improvements.
When I first chose the independent publishing route, I hoped things like this were going to happen — that speculation about a competitive e-reader space would prove correct. I’ve since made the acquaintance of dozens of authors — talented, dedicated, savvy, and productive — who are benefiting from this. And judging by the audience response to these new writers and new devices, this is a trend that isn’t slowing down.
5 Thoughts on "Is 2010 the Year for the e-Book?"
If the results of this experiment are any indication, e-books, or more specifically, e-readers, have a ways to go before they’re the norm in academia.
Though it would appear that Disney is on board the e-book train, albeit with a different business model that cuts the e-reader devices out of the picture.
This suggests to me they’re preparing for a time when e-readers will have color and sound capabilities capable of supporting children’s books. (No pop-ups, though!) I think it’s still a sign that the space is gaining interest, investment, and major players.