7/15/2009 1:06:00 PM
The role of mobile in ebooks
Bouyant sales of ebooks in America have left Amazon in no doubt that there is latent demand in other countries, beyond simply holiday novels.
There is a chance to enter the newspaper, magazine and traditional print advertising markets, currently on its knees and looking for optimism.
Ebooks also create a new business model with value to different segments: manufacturer, retailer, content provider and the network. Amazon has demonstrated its willingness to share the spoils – publishers in America pick up around 35% of the revenue. Will those segments collaborate or put their energy into fighting each other? Vodafone and Orange are showing signs they will obviate Amazon and cut their own deals with publishers and other content providers.
The premise of the ebook highlights the need for mobile connectivity in new categories, and will be another landmark in whether mobile operators accept the role of ‘a pipe’, something they loathe doing, or try to control content distribution and be bigger brands.
Amazon has already tied up the big publishers in exclusive deals for ebooks, restricting access to newcomers. The online retailer also believes the ebook is a precursor to its bigger move into digital content distribution currently inhabited by Apple and Google – news, music, video.
Google and Apple are challenging the established segment boundaries, and mobile operators see it as both opportunity and threat. They will have to move fast and execute well if they are to halt Amazon, Google and Apple.
The other option is to embrace being pipes, and just be very good and efficient at it.