As part of the Independent Book Publishers Association‘s Publishing University for 2011, CCC’s Chris Kenneally moderated a discussion on “What’s Now and What’s Next in E-Reading.” Taking place just ahead of BookExpo America, the session featured Mark Coker, Founder and CEO, Smashwords; Ami Greko, Senior Vendor Relations, Kobo; James Howitt, Director of Publishing Services, R.R. Bowker; and Ron Hogan, Electric Literature.
“Last time we had a revolution of this kind,” Kenneally pointed out, “was the emergence of the printing press in the end of the 15th century. It took 150 years for anything like a publishing business to emerge. So while it’s possible to invent a technology, inventing a business takes a good deal more work. This is not the Middle Age, and we don’t have centuries to work these things out.” The panel noted ways that e-readers are changing how authors, publishers and their audiences think about the things we once called “books.”
From Bowker, James Howitt noted, “that we have to realize that bookstores hold in excess of 50, 60,000 titles to browse through. Today’s e-book buyer is going online and probably seeing — I don’t know, 50, 60 titles in front of them. There’s not that browsing, discovery capability just yet, and again, I’ll keep saying it, but not everyone is buying an e-book. So the challenge is about understanding each one of those customers and why they do what they do.”