Been taking some slack about my comment that publishers who didn’t see enhanced ebooks as immediately profitable were probably right, so I want to take a second to set the record straight:
– First of all, and most importantly: I think it’s okay to make things and to be creative even when it’s not profitable. That’s how you discover new audiences and new forms of expression and new markets.
– There are several arenas where enhanced ebooks are profitable. Children’s books, for instance, are doing gangbusters. Shorts are also doing well (see David Carr’s piece on the Atavist). And add-supported multimedia apps are showing enough promise to get the big networks involved.
– Multimedia eReaders, like the Arcade Sunshine platform, are only now coming to market with enough power and versatility to be used easily, and in a cost-efficient manner.
– As Peter Colingridge of Enhanced Editions points out: Enhanced eBooks are an excellent way for publishers to show valued authors that they care.
– The market is brand new! Have you tried to buy an iPad 2 recently? It’s really hard! These things are sold out and Apple has a 4-6 week backorder… I can imagine that these things are going out of style anytime soon.
That said, if you’re looking for a straight-ahead business proposition, multimedia ebooks are probably not the way to go.
When my grandfather finished up his Phd in Political Science from the University of Chicago, he finally mustered up enough courage to schedule a meeting with his mentor-professor… He told the professor how much he had learned from his time in America, how he had worked so hard to get to this point and that, finally, he was ready to return to Iran and use all the knowledge he had gained for the good of his country.
His mentor listened to my grandfather and, after a long pause, replied:
“You should open a shoe-store. Everybody needs shoes.”