eBook Bubble Notes

July 8, 2009

The trouble with tracking a bubble is finding its start point.

The first hint of an upcoming bubble was back in January: Samsung’s eInk Papyrus … Thing. That Samsung even bothered to display a prototype of that meant they were gauging interest.

The second hint of the bubble was this: Wireless Sony Reader: Via Verizon Network? When a carrier gets involved, you can be sure they smell blood money in the water.

The third portion of the bubble was sighted when government said it wanted to be involved: Tell The FTC You HATE DRM!

Then in April came the bad news: Amazon Buys Lexcycle/Stanza Reader. To see some consolidation in such a still-young field was troubling.

In May, BeBook announced its two new readers.

But I think the introduction of the Cool-er reader was the true beginning of this bubble. How can someone with any eBook industry knowledge look at the boastful claim, “The iPod Moment for eBooks has arrived!” and not go all WTF?

Such bombast usually indicates the bubble is On.

From this point on, I hope to track the bubble.

June: Quartet Press

July 5: Tyrus Books

July 6: Ditto Book Digital Reading Device Hits the Market

July 7: Sony announces Mac OS X eLibrary compatibility

July 7: Sony PRS-700 discontinuation rumor

July 8: Announcing Enhanced Editions

July 9: Google announces Google Chrome OS — oh yes this is eBook-related. Welcome to the Google eBook Cloudshelf.

There is going to be an eBook feeding frenzy this year. Many, many writers are going to get screwed. Books will fall into a legal abyss worse than that of current print publishing because these writers will be dealing with micro-firms that cannot compete against the tide. It’s not enough just to publish eBooks, as these companies will soon see.