Stakeholders in eBook Adoption – authors, publishers, distributors, retailers, readers

Mike Shatzkin put up an article yesterday around the various stakeholders (authors, retailers, distributors, and readers) in the ebook industry. It describes the history of the ebook market and his thoughts on coming changes.

In the “vision” stage of ebook adoption, which ended with the launch of the Kindle in November 2007, authors were virtually powerless. With ebook sales even for established books struggling to make triple digits, publishers were gunshy about accepting digitization costs for books other than the biggest sellers and it hardly made sense for authors to make the investment on their own.

Check it out:

Devices on the Train, Amazon, Kindle, iPhone, BlackBerry

Since switching to taking the train to work three months ago, I’ve been watching what devices people are using for news and media consumption. If you ride the train or find yourself in a public place, do yourself a favor and look around. It’s fascinating.

Newspapers aren’t dead here, but they’re definitely in decline. A check around me in this car has 8 people out of 120 reading a paper. Physical book reading is also down compared to my train rides three years ago.

Instead of books and newspapers I see iPhones and BlackBerry’s. There are tons of these devices, almost literally. But in three months I am yet to see a single Kindle.

Every seat one passes walking in or out has an occupant or two swishing their fingers across a touchscreen or wildly flailing thumbs on a keypad. Most people are reading on these devices, browsing web sites, consuming words.

Yesterday’s news about Kindle book downloads being 10% of amazon’s sales isn’t as surprising when looking at people’s device use, and is kind of a foreshadowing of what’s to come… If Kindle downloads were 10% of Amazon’s consumed books and the Kindle is <1% of the portable device market, what happens when iPhones, iPods, Sony eReader, and other media consumption devices cleanly support book and newspaper content?

Amazon AWS releases CloudFront – here’s how it works

Amazon released CloudFront to public beta today. It’s a simple way to get free content publicly available to the edge of the network (closest to the recipient downloader).

From the AWS announcement:

Amazon CloudFront is a web service for content delivery. It integrates with other Amazon Web Services to give developers and businesses an easy way to distribute content to end users with low latency, high data transfer speeds, and no commitments.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Upload your content files to S3.
  2. Call the CloudFront API, specifying the S3 bucket.
  3. Use your S3 bucket’s already created domain and filename in your website (no change here).
  4. When a customer clicks a link the closest file is automatically routed.

So, uhhh, what’s special here? From AWS’s description, CloudFront is simply setting a flag for your S3 bucket that means it’s to be distributed around the cloud or remain in a single location.

This should be an addition to the S3 service, not a separate service. The added step of having to let CloudFront know you want the edge network coverage is an unnecessary chore. It would be better as an attribute for the S3 bucket. This would make S3 a stronger brand, keep it clearer for those navigating AWS, and simplify the process of pushing content (1 less step).

Here’s how much it costs:
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