Call me crazy, but I’d expect an industry that salivates over moving 150,000 units to be all over the potential for reaching seven million “mobile is the future” customers. Are you not out there, listening to readers, gauging their interest? They want, you have, and you’re still hiding the goods. I get this isn’t the largest market you have, but is that an excuse to sit on the sidelines?
Sara Lloyd doesn’t see long-term value in this current burst of iPhone excitement. From thedigitalist:
… apart from a few digital PR points scored against competing publishers, there doesn’t seem to me to be any huge value in first mover advantage here for publishers, unless we want to make the decision to become software developers. The perception is that the App Store has ‘opened up’ the iPhone to publishers and to e-reading. The reality is that the iPhone has always been enabled for e-reading … So, whilst we have been awaiting the launch of the App Store with interest, we didn’t see enormous advantage in, for example, creating a reading app ourselves or Being There on Day One, just for the sake of it.
Expanding on the software theme, James Bridle says book publishers are uniquely positioned to develop ebook applications that meet consumer needs. From booktwo.org:
… who better than publishers to craft such software? Most ereader technologies are built by techies who put the technology before the reading experience: the combined skills of typesetters, print designers, editors and technologists that only publishers possess could, with the right direction, produce a far superior ereader app than any we’ve seen so far.
Broadening the analysis, Michael Cairns says the “silo” mentality displayed in this iPhone debate is a competitive obstacle that needs to be put aside. From PersonaNonData:
To bring us back to the iPhone circumstance, as long as publishers continue to think in terms of traditional functional silos and roles and responsibilities they limit themselves in their ability to leverage their assets. In contrast witness Amazon which has never considered any aspect of the publishing value chain to be off limits and more publishers need to think in this manner if they want to redress some of the advantages Amazon and others retain (or new competitors develop) in the marketplace.
(Many of the links and call-outs in this post were provided by Peter Brantley via his Read 20 list.)