Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Good news week for Dutch e-reading

Sadly, up until this point, we haven't made a lot of progress with true electronic text-books on the iPad. Problems we have encountered so far:
- One book only utilizes an online version, which is completely Flash-based (via and thus not usable ont he iPad itself.
- One book, a Dutch math textbook, was released as an e-book a week after the students had bought the paper copy. Moreover, it was distributed in the Adobe DRM style, which Apple doesn't like.
- More in general it seems that the United States is a lot further in publishing digital content, and I would, for example, love to see something like CourseSmart in Europe. Which reminds me, I still have to look at the upcoming widescript platform!

Ah, I almost forgot to talk about the good news!
- On the DRM issue: there's an app for that called BlueFire. Still have to test it, but it sounds promising.
- This week news arrived that the Dutch 'Centraal Boekhuis', an important player in the distribution of books, has signed a contract with Apple on the iBookstore. It will still depend on the other parties involved whether they want to publish via iBooks, but at least the momentum is set for a greater range of electronic books.
- Perhaps of minor importance, but indicative of the times we live in, the AKO chain of magazines & books stores have launched a magazine application for the iPad. It servers as a digital kiosk for a range Dutch magazines (if you want to read those, of course).

Let's hope that publishers (of all kinds) will finally start making the most of all the exciting new possibilities, instead of being scared of the future.

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