Larry Bonura's Blog

Random thoughts filling my brain

Future of ebooks and innovation

with 4 comments


I just finished reading John W. Warren’s ”Innovation and the Future of e-Books” in The International Journal of the Book, v6 #1, 2009 (

The author, who is the director of marketing and publications at the RAND Corporation, brings out some interesting concepts that I’d like to share with you:

  • ebooks are in their infancy. Just as the first generations of printers in the late 1400s sought to reproduce the illuminated manuscripts by using similar type styles, ornamentation, and ligatures, today’s generators of ebooks are in their incunabula state. Many ebooks are pictures of a book, just as the first printed books were pictures of their manuscripts.
  • The first printed books were viewed with “suspicion and derision, seen as inferior or even dangerous,” compared with the illuminated manuscripts. Today’s ebook—whether in PDF, epub, or other formats—provides little value-added content other than ease of portability, the ability to search and quickly access content.
    ebooks have failed to live up to the early hype, in both sales and usage. Some argue that the ebook is a “solution to something that wasn’t a problem.” Books are a technology that works fine. Others argue that there are too many interfaces, devices, and formats. Consumers have rejected digital rights management. There is a dearth of title numbers and varieties. Publishers face uncertainty on how to compensate authors whose contracts don’t address electronic rights.
  • Success requires the participation and support of authors, publishers, and readers. Surely, ebooks will evolve into a form not fully envisioned today. Future books will be “cross-linked, clustered, indexed, annotated, remixed, and ‘mashed-up’.” As authors, publishers, and readers embrace new digital forms, the continuing digital evolution will emerge. The platform will be digital, that’s for sure. Those authors and publishers who experiment, innovate, embrace, and invent new business models will be the winners. They will be the ones who will generate ground-breaking forms of ebooks and its resultant digital content unfolding. They “will be the ones who survive, and thrive, in the digital future.”

Written by Larry S. Bonura

10 June 2009 at 02:29

4 Responses

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  1. Hi Larry,
    like the blog. Nice clean layout and interesting info.

    John Perser

    10 June 2009 at 09:11

    • Thanks, John.


      10 June 2009 at 09:19

  2. Thanks mate! I was looking for something pretty much along the lines of this the entire day. Do you guys offer a subscription service? If so, how can I subscribe?

    download free ebooks

    2 February 2010 at 05:47

    • No subscription service. It’s just my whimsical musings about ebooks.


      3 February 2010 at 07:03

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