Digital Media

Connectedness of E-books

Who decides what gets sold in the bookstore? Is a blogpost by Seth Godin sharing a problem he is having with Apple Store as they are not distributing his book through their store since reasoning with the external links to the Amazon bookstore (one of Apple’s competitor in this market)

I just found out that Apple is rejecting my new manifesto Stop Stealing Dreams and won’t carry it in their store because inside the manifesto are links to buy the books I mention in the bibliography.

Quoting here from their note to me, rejecting the book: “Multiple links to Amazon store. IE page 35, David Weinberger link.”

And there’s the conflict. We’re heading to a world where there are just a handful of influential bookstores (Amazon, Apple, Nook…) and one by one, the principles of open access are disappearing. Apple, apparently, won’t carry an ebook that contains a link to buy a hardcover book from Amazon.
I came across to this piece of news on Apple evengelist John Gruber’s news feed with the following comment;
Would Amazon carry a book that linked each book in the bibliography to the iBookstore? I don’t know, maybe they would. But would Barnes & Noble carry a book that contained coupons to buy additional books at Borders? (Pretend Borders is still in business.) Why not link to iBookstore versions of the books from the iBooks edition?
What I am afraid of Gruber might not be noticing is the opportunity-missed in favor of the closed network of bookstores.

Our experience of web is consisted of pieces of text/ image/ video being linked to each which is allowing user to navigate through a sea of information. Such a structure derives it’s strength from well connectedness. It is only fair to accommodate the idea each bookstore to keep a guarded garden to maintain profits/ competitive advantage but all this insecure precautions prevent the e-book as a media type to become part of the web experience.

I very much agree with John Maeda, in the following tweet;

Books and movies have endings. The Web doesn’t. Thus taking breaks on the Web feels so unnatural.
— johnmaeda (@johnmaeda) December 13, 2010

Digital bookstores are likely to be the only way out for e-books from being the media type that’s destined to have endings. And bookstores which can facilitate & celebrate the potential in the connectedness of e-books, we will be able to experience a more fluid content experience. This natural content consumption experience for the users will also mean additional traffic & demand for all the parties that’s selling books online.


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