iPad: The Unanswered Question

Now that the hype has died down a bit over the new Apple iPad, there are quite a few questions that linger over the yet to be released device.  The forefront on my mind (and the question no one is asking) is this: Who can publish on the new iBookstore?  Apple's Chief Operating Officer, Tim Cook, commented about the new device's revenue generator, hinting that it would 'inspire a whole new gold rush' for publishers.  While certainly comforting for those already established, what for those who may now want to get into the market of ePublishing?

Like the much maligned recording and movie industries, the publishing market is fraught with the Good Ol' Boy mentality of crowding out competition.  I can hardly think that Apple struck deals with the announced publishing partnerships to let small fry publishers, or even start-ups, to get a large chunk of the iPad pie.  Paranoia aside, it would be incredible, like the AppStore, to allow anyone to step up and develop content for the iBookstore.  The iPad is supposedly a revolution for distribution of the written word, why not allow the common man to compete against the Old World juggernauts of publication?

Apple only has one shot with this device.  No Flash support, no web cam, no multi-task are massive detractors for purchasing this device, so Apple must win a core audience early on with its eBook strategy.  Creating a level playing field for people to distribute quality publications will attract the masses in a way that the Nook and Kindle have not.  Failing to deliver, on the other hand, could drive that pent-up publishing supply to those less-sparkly, if cheaper, devices.

Time will tell; I'm hoping for the best.

Posted on Jan 28
Written by Wayne Hartman