In recent months the Phoenix has extensively covered major shifts in the literary marketplace - first in "Holy Scrollers!" (about trend-setting e-Bibles), and soon after with our profile of Wellesley-based futurist Ray Kurzweil, whose Blio technology is soon to make a serious dent in the Kindle-and-iPad-dominated scene.
So far we've been relatively on-point about the dynamic sort of reading models that are gaining popularity, but one thing we didn't predict was that Oprah would be one of the first to incorporate some of the social networking ideas that e-Bibles (and a few others) ushered into the discussion early on. From a recent article on paidcontent.org regarding Hearst's "Major App Rollout":
The Oprah mag [iPad] app will allow readers to comment within the
app’s articles, creating the opportunities for something similar to what
Hearst envisions as a real-time chat among users.
As unsettling as the thought of engaging in real-time sewing circles with Oprah fans may be, it's exciting to see the industry move forward in this fashion. As expected, the iPad's multi-functionality is a serious game-changer, and it will be interesting to see how Hearst proceeds with comparable upcoming apps for Esquire (August), Marie Claire (fall), and later on Seventeen, Cosmo, and Harpers Bazaar. Right now their Popular Mechanics app is killing, with 10,000 $1.99 downloads in five days.
Soon after those revelations surfaced, Amazon kingpin Jeff Bezos announced that, since May, his site has sold more electronic books for Kindle than it did hardcovers (NY Times article here). While this is sort of a big deal - even though Bezos won't reveal how many softcovers were sold - his announcement nonetheless appears to be a transparant publicity grab in the wake of multiple iPad-related media blitzes. It's certainly important news, and will probably coaxe some John Grisham fans onto the Kindle bandwagon, but Amazon still seems to have no real answer to the interactive demands of tomorrow's readers. Stay tuned...