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article imageOp-Ed: The e-reader maze- More gadgets, less distribution

By Paul Wallis     Oct 12, 2011 in Technology
Sydney - If you’re a reader, you could wind up owning a scrap heap of gadgets. E-reader compatability is ridiculously over complex. This is to distribution what chastity is to orgasms- Vaguely related, and not noticeably helpful.
E- reader formats are farcical. There are about a million publishers, all going for some system or another. This further dilutes an already fragmented market. Selling books, apparently, is the last thing on anyone’s minds. Who needs customers, anyway?
Add the bureaucracy, a shipload worth of fun and excitement, to this mix. To sell on Amazon, I have to go through the fascinating and entirely inappropriate process of filling out American tax forms to sell books sourced in Australia. For some prehistoric reason, Amazon, the world’s global market leader, apparently hasn’t quite yet gone that global. I rang the US Embassy trying to get these forms, and even they couldn’t help much, despite trying very hard. They don’t have any IRS people in one of the few countries on Earth in which the USA has a trade surplus.
Listen, wukfits, this is business.
To be hideously accurate, it’s your business.
It’s also our business. We content producers do not need the circus routines. We don’t get paid for being driven up the architecture by procedures and hardware psychoses. It must be wonderful to be flogging versions of gadgets and gizmos and calling it core business for publishers, but is it? What about generating some product value, not just more obstacles to production?
Here’s a novel idea for selling books:
1. Publish the bloody things as quickly and simply as possible, with top quality presentation, not these Stone Age grayscale things that are decades behind HTML and even WordPress.
2. Standardize so that each reader has at least one single common read-anything capability which allows things like images, artwork and other revolutionary, unheard-of content like color to be added to books without proprietary BS getting in the way of sales.
3. Add bells and whistles with other features, to ensure that all the opportunistic hardware people and developers can become millionaires out of your revenue as required and you can’t be accused of materialism.
4. Sell books, make money, and perhaps even frolic in the meadows.
People with stone tablets, papyrus and bamboo scrolls were more efficient than this dog’s breakfast is ever likely to be. To put this in perspective- What are the chances of someone discovering a Dead Sea E-book in the future and being able to read it? Not great, are they?
The alternative- Let Apple or Google run the next wave of e-reader technology. That's a lot of money on reader development down the tube, isn't it?
Just a thought...
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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