E-book Industry players seek effective business models
by Rose Blessing
"E-books are more than hype right now. E-books are definitely here," asserted Victor McCrary, group leader, Information Storage and Integrated Systems Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). McCrary was speaking at the Electronic Book 1999 conference held in Gaithersburg, MD, in September, the second such conference sponsored by NIST; he chaired the event. McCrary and many other speakers--including the reading-device makers--agreed that improved displays, lowered device weights and decreased power requirements are desired. "A lot of work still needs to be done in terms of (creating) a thriving electronic book industry," added McCrary. He credited SoftBook Press and NuvoMedia (makers of the SoftBook and the Rocket E-Book reading devices, respectively) with having paved the way for further industry developments. He also added that a pattern of industry cooperation has already been set, pointing to the September finalization of the Open E-Book text formatting standard as one standout accomplishment.