Twenty days ago, in this post, I made a prediction:
At least one — probably several — big publishers will try to introduce their own ebook reader or ebook format, despite the fact that popular formats exist and are already being whittled down to a few survivors. These things will suck huge amounts of money that could have been spent partnering with existing solution providers and solving the problem with already-adopted tech.
WELCOME TO THE FUTURE.
Check this bit of brilliance out:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced a tabletish color ereader targeted at children in mid-2011. Called the Fable, the seven-inch touchscreen device will sell for between $149 and $179 (plus cellular connection fees). “Several” HMH books will be pre-loaded on the device, and Isabella ceo Matthew Growley says they “have right now four other publishers signed up,” though he would not name them. (That implies, but does not state, that the company is thinking of a proprietary store and/or format.) The device will be sold from their own website and “select retailers.”
Nook Color notwithstanding, HMH svp of digital strategy and planning Cheryl Cramer Toto says “there is a real market need out there for a kids’ color tablet.”
In other device news, E Ink [Doyce: the technology that Kindle uses] is unveiling their first color electronic paper display at a trade show in Tokyo today.
Tomorrow, Ford will announce a product called an “fTire” that will, in the words of one insider, “reinvent the wheel”.
People: Kids books make up twenty-five percent of Kindle sales. It’s the fastest growing category for Kindle. I needn’t mention what percentage of all ebook sales Kindle and Nook represent.
Can someone else compete with Kindle? Yes. Can someone build a better, cheaper ereader than Kindle? Yes.
But you know who won’t?
Publishers. Building the next great electronic gadget is not what they do. It is, in fact, one of the best examples of Not What They Do.
Okay, I’m done ranting. I’ll wrap up with another prediction. Here we go:
This isn’t over. At least one other publisher will announce some similar project in the near future.
(Because why just compete with Kindle when you can compete with each other as well? *headdesk*)