So, Sports Illustrated takes a second shot at doing an e version, one that will pass Apple’s Section 3.3.1.
It’s superior to the first.
But if this is HTML5 — basically a tarted-up website — and not something that’s downloaded to a device to keep … how do you turn that into money?
This is the web’s trillion-dollar question.
Because here comes the newsflash for eBooks: they’ll be just like this too.
Within 3-5 years, there won’t be a Kindle app, an eReader app, an Aldiko app, or any other kind of eBook app. I don’t think there will even be a need for Ibis Reader — which itself lives on the Net — except to access what will then be considered legacy ePub books.
A combination of factors will drive this.
- Abuse by gatekeepers (pioneered by Apple)
- The rise of tablet devices
- The fall of eBook devices
- The collapse of traditional print publishing
- The collapse of ePub
Tools for CSS/HTML5 will become better. They will become simpler. And they will win.
And today there was this significant post: An Open, Webby, Book-Publishing Platform
I’ve argued for a blog-like interface as the best way for writers to create digital books. But that was when I thought ePub would prevail as the electronic publishing method. Now I think ePub is destined to fail.
Aside from the crap that ePub hampers publishing with, it’s a set of shackles on writers.
- It requires specialized reading software
- If that software doesn’t exist for a device, a reader is SOL (hello, webOS)
- It’s a way for gatekeepers to sprout like zombies
- And then there’s DRM and its issues
There’s a generation out there growing up with the idea of ownership meaning access. Look at Club Penguin and sites like that. For people older, think of Second Life! And then there’s Disney’s — and now Sesame Street’s — web-based digital books.
All of those things require only a web browser. An application that every device has — and will have.
So why should something as basic as, say, an all-text fiction book require the torment that is ePub — and a specialized app for reading?
This post is all words. Even the video! The video is nothing but an embedded link. Anyone can see this on the Net. There’s no gatekeeper here (despite the fact I’m using the WordPress service; and that will change at some point too).
And this is the future of the book too.
Stop to think: Just about every writer has a website or blog. Why should we have to leave that writer’s site or blog and go to a gatekeeper for that writer’s work? Why should that writer have to give up a portion of his income to someone else who will never care about the book as much as that writer?
Amazon, Fictionwise, eReader, Barnes & Noble, Borders, the iBookstore, Smashwords, Feedbooks, et al, are all temporary marketplace aberrations — based on the sole fact that someone once decided books should be placed in a container that could then be sold as downloadable objects.
All of these eBookstores are nothing more than the web portals of the past: Lycos, Excite, and the rest. They all believed they could corral the Internet for their own private profit.
Where are they now?
They are gone.
But we see the spirit of portalism live on today. It goes under the new name of “curation.” They believe they can corral all of the books.
That’s a nice formula for Portal FAIL 2.0.
And don’t kid yourselves: so-called “curators” will be as abusive as any of the current gatekeepers. That’s human nature.
The future is not a corral set up by an outsider to capitalize on others.
The future is writers being independent.
But how is that future turned into money so writers can keep dreaming, so people can keep reading?
I don’t yet have an answer. But I think ease of buying has to be part of it. It would make a difference if devices of the future could incorporate a wallet from which payments were made. That would prevent financial corralling such as this: