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BEA: All quiet in the digital book zone

BEABook Expo

Book Expo attendees who need to get a break from the crowds should try heading to the downtown end of the Javits Center. That's where the Digital Book Zone has been set up, and the aisles stretch wide, nearly empty.

This doesn't indicate what it might seem. Digital books have in fact found traction with many in publishing, from independent Soft Skull press, which prefers to send out pre-publication galleys in electronic form, to major distributor Ingram, which is one of the section's sponsors.

But e-books and the myriad new aspects of the e-book business don't seem to have found equal footing with the booksellers and librarians attending the conference. Maybe it's because discussing formatting manuscripts for ePub, Kindle or other e-book types is too techy. Or maybe it's because people who work in bookstores don't see an obvious way to bring e-book sales into their business model.

Or maybe it's just that the downtown edge of the Javits Center is far off on the edge of the conference. Author Jeff Kinney, whose "Wimpy Kid" books are huge bestsellers, appeared on a panel near the area to a modest audience -- maybe 45 people and many empty chairs.

-- Carolyn Kellogg in New York

Photo credit: Carolyn Kellogg

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Something else to consider...apPlE's seducing the "big 6" publishers into moving to the "agency pricing model" has many retailers feeling as if their hands are tied.

Also, the hardware side of things the mfg's have not been delivering devices as promised for the, oh, decade...but even of the dozens of devices announced as much a 2-yrs before and at this year's PMA only a handful have actually made it to production and release so far. And many of those have issues in addition to being to expensive.

Interest is there, obviously, but the infrastructure is simply has not been developed yet...so retailers really just don't have any help in integrating the ebook into their brick & mortar stores in a beneficial fashion.

Digital books are meeting the requirements of today. These are cheep, No load to lift. The people who works in book store do not want to work with these books as this is related to technology whereas paper books are related to tradition


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