E-book Industry players seek effective business models
* Printers such as R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Cadmus, Lighting Print and Acme Bookbinding.
* Text processing service providers such as Automated Graphic Systems, OverDrive Systems, Texterity and Versaware Technologies.
* Audio recording specialists such as the Recordng Industry Association of America and Brilliance Corp.
* Helpers of the blind and print-disabled including National Library Service for the Blind.
Issues to tackle
Speaker Jim Sachs of SoftBook Press outlined issues facing the industry. His musings included
* Content: Users want to pay less for content delivered electronically; content categories are endless. For example, is a PowerPoint presentation "content"?
* Standards: The Open E-book specs are established and available on the Web. The next standards to work toward are digital rights management and distribution systems.
* Tools: Multiple authoring tools are available; conversion services are on the increase. People have potential content ranging back many, many years.
* Aggregation and Selection: When what is sold is electronic files, not printed pages, it is easy to package library collections or sell subsets of basic texts. Niches and vertical markets already abound; demand is driving these markets.
* Retailing: It is still early; prices of e-books are still high compared to paper books, but with the release of the Open E-book standard the base of books will just get bigger.
* E-commerce: With transactions occurring at many points in the distribution chain, overall "there are a lot of ways of making money."
* Digital Rights Management: This "could be the next bottleneck," said Sachs. On the bright side, solutions-providers are already beginning to emerge.
* Security: "Security is relative, but there is plenty of it."
* Storage and Delivery: The dominant mode of delivery today is the Internet or PC, not cartridges, disks or tapes. Systems are not cross-compatible yet. Users like speed and ease.