Old Media’s eReader Saviours: A Comprehensive Guide
Barnes & Noble is making an eReader; Gizmodo published the first pictures today. With similar media-tech fusions out or anticipated from Amazon.com, Apple, Hearst, Time Inc. and others, it’s tough to keep track. No worries; here’s a list.
We’ve included only eReaders (and one tablet computer) that are either developed by old media companies or have gone out of their way to partner with them; think of this as a compilation of would-be media saviours dressed up as gadgets.
Maker: Barnes & Noble (the retailer)
Old media tie-ins: Books from Barnes & Noble (the publisher); access to books scanned by Google Books; a B&N eBook store. (More)
Name: Apple Tablet (unofficial)
Caveat: A tablet computer is much more capable than an eReader, usually offering the resolution, sound and video capabilities of a laptop computer along with a full-colour display.
Old media tie-ins: Apple is in content talks with the New York Times, a large magazine group and at least two textbook companies, sources told our colleagues at Gizmodo. (More)
Name: Kindle DX, Kindle 2
Old media tie-ins: eBooks—from fiction to textbooks—sold by Amazon; a variety of newspapers, including the New York Times; a variety of magazines, including Time. Non-participating newspapers, including those owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., have complained about the paltry 30% cut of revenues they were offered for sales on the device.
And, bringing up the rear, there are the media companies whose devices are, for now, mostly talk.
Maker: Hearst Corp. and FirstPaper LLC
Old media tie-ins: Would presumably include content from Hearst newspapers like the Chronicle in San Francisco and Houston and from magazines like Esquire and Cosmopolitan. There has been talk of a hardware device developed by Hearst and, more recently, of an open software platform developed with FirstPaper.
Maker: Time Inc.
Old media tie-ins: There are conflicting accounts over whether Time Inc. is interested in making this device. Former Valleywag Owen Thomas of NBC Bay Area obtained a June 2009 presentation indicating plans to finish a prototype this year; Peter Kafka’s sources at All Things D said the magazine division of Time Warner is interested in creating a virtual store rather than a physical device. Either way, the company is said to be seeking partnerships with other magazine publishers — Condé Nast, Meredith and Hearst, according to the documents reviewed by Thomas.
(Pics via Gizmodo unless otherwise noted)