The book industry is facing a major challenge and undergoing a slow yet critical evolution.
This industry is desperately trying to avoid the pitfall taken by the music industry, that is more on the copy protection than on the content.
Amazon has taken very big steps to shape this new market by creating a reading devices -almost 3 generations shipped- and maybe more important than the reader itself, a complete ecosystem to sell the content. Due to Amazon global dominant position as a book seller, book editors are not very happy with this as they loose grounds on the price control amoung other things. Google is also playing in this field by digitalizing massively books all around Europe and providing them or free or almost free. No doubt Apple will move soon also in this area as the IPhone and IPod Touch installed based make it easy for them to become the first reader worldwide.
This reads as all the elements are there for a big change in this area, new players are entering the slow-moving and secular book world and shaking it badly with their Start-up vision and fast methods. Still editors are willing to adapt and to be creative. Many of them have understood that they can act on the future of the book by adding content to the text and by creating richer content.
No doubt we will see many interesting initiatives in the coming monthes, similar to this one driven by Anthony Zuiker (creator of the CSI TV show): the digital book “Level 26 – Dark Origins” is “augmented” with 3mn videos every 20 pages, with links to a web site. The book is scheduled to ship the 8th of September 2009 -first of a serie of 3 – and the site will go live on the 3rd of July but a few pictures are already available www.level26.com.