Everyone has already told you what 2009 was like.
And some think they’re telling you what 2010 will be.
I will instead tell you what 2010 was.
January: What Amazon didn’t count on were the legacy political connections of the legacy companies it was trying to jack. The FTC and SEC ordered Amazon to publish an audited sales total for the Kindle. The jig was up at that point. Every print publisher was able, by law, to void all existing eBook contracts with Amazon. The Kindle Store was reduced to freebies by amateurs and begging writers.
February: Even with software update 1.5, the Barnes & Noble Nook was a dog. Rumors started floating of a Son of Nook that would be smaller, lighter, cheaper, and use a single screen from Pixel Qi — with no Android.
March: It’s here! It’s here! That Friday, there were unprecedented lines for the iSlate. Despite Apple contracting for double capacity, all iSlates were sold out in every Apple Store within an hour. Only one out of four people who lined up were able to buy an iSlate. In the iSlate disappointment fallout, no one noticed the stock market had crashed that day.
April: The first Android tablet with a Pixel Qi screen went on sale. And it wasn’t from Notion Ink — it was from Asus! Since it was only one-fourth the price of the iSlate, people flocked to it as a consolation prize because no one wanted to be seen without the new new thing. No one cared that it had a stupid name like the Tabalong.
May: The number of used iSlates on eBay testified to the rapidly deteriorating economic situation. But no one much talked about that in the reality vacuum of the Internet. Everyone was waiting for next month’s release of iWork. Nook with software 1.6 was still a sick dog. Lots of used Nooks began to appear on eBay next to the bargain-priced used Kindles. Sony announced it was ending its Reader eBook device line and closing the Reader Store by year’s end.
June: iWork went on sale, allowing anyone to create digital books just like a Vook. The RIAA and MPAA suddenly had thousands of new Copyright criminals on their hands as people embedded songs and movie clips into their digital books.
July: The biggest download in history was a digital book from the new iTunes Bookstore. Penned by a former celebrity who was homeless, the cinema verite embedded video diary of his plight spoke to the grim economic times people were beginning to really notice. Publishing woke up and stopped all further ePub-format sales. Everything hence would be in digital book format.
August: The celebrity’s homeless diary was revealed to be a total hoax. Apple refunded all purchases. The celebrity was later found dead of what appeared to be an overdose. No one cared. Publishers announced a new ePub strategy: $1.00 Samplers. Buy one-fourth of a book’s text in ePub for a buck. If you liked it, you could pay for it as a real digital book, minus a $1.00-off credit.
September: Strapped public libraries began to rent themselves to host public events. Some fees were so low that reading groups could do it — and they had to. Months ago, budget cuts caused public libraries to ask all reading groups to meet elsewhere.
October: Borders filed for bankruptcy dissolution. Publishers started to tally the bottom-line damages.
November: Barnes & Noble revealed that Nook sales had stopped. Even slashing the price by $100 and including a $100 gift card did not help. There were no more rumors of a Son of Nook. Clueless writers on the Internet started to do “Death of ePub” articles months after the corpse was already cold.
December: Bertelsmann announced it would spin off its Random House unit, which was devastated by the Borders bankruptcy. Mike Cane said he was still willing to buy it for a full US$1.00.