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Electronic reader news

April 14th, 2011 by Chris Strauber

Story the First

Amazon launched an ad-supported Kindle (the loathsomely-named “Kindle With Special Offers“) this week. In exchange for $25 off the purchase price of the wifi model you’ll see ads on the screensaver page and in your table of contents…thankfully not within the book itself.

Story the Second

While looking for dictionaries in the Android App Market I came across a few electronic books by major publishers at really spectacular prices. Like Peter Knox’s Companion to Ovid, which Wiley-Blackwell is selling for the princely sum of $169.99. Amazon has it for the Kindle at $148.14, or in hardback for $164.60. I am happy to report that we still beat them on price. But this marks a change–the last time I checked for books like these, none of the ebooksellers had them.

Bonus Story

Harper Collins announced a couple of months ago that they would force libraries to buy new copies of ebooks which were checked out more than 26 times. Libraries and librarians were displeased. Some are calling for a boycott.

Analysis

The good news is that ebooks are now a big enough market that publishers are starting to take them seriously. The bad news is that many are trying to use electronic means to limit traditional library rights, or to force electronic products into models designed for printed objects. Explain to me, for example, why it makes any sense at all to “check out” a stream of ones and zeroes with no physical form. There’s no reason to limit it to one user at a time…except for publishers’ reluctance to change their business model to suit new realities. Hang with us while we all explore some new options.

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