11 Ebooks in business – notable industry organisations

The book revolution in trade books has been pushed by not by publishers but by technologists and retailers. The IDPF (International Digital Publication Forum) and the W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) were leading the technology needed for what began as the OEBPS (Open Ebook Publication Structure) and now exists as the EPUB standard. These groups were working to develop HTML and XML to a level at which it could be used to create books.

The companies that have shaped the ebook industry in the past decade are Amazon, Apple, Google, Kobo, Barnes & Noble. Other companies are notable for well-intentioned, but ultimately failed programmes (such as Microsoft’s attempt at making its own ebook format, .lit) ; others are known for their attempts at willingness to experiment with digital text (such as Coliloquy, a publisher that experiments with interactive texts, now part of Vook). Sony up until recently was an early innovator in e-books in creating a range of e-reading devices and developing early rights management and an electronic storefront. However Sony has since sold its e-book collection to Kobo.

Retailers in electronic publishing have allowed for e-books to move from being a computer interest and research tool, to being a consumer product. E-readers are devices for leisure which can be incorporated into other mobile technology.

It should be kept in mind that the innovation largely occurs in the US. While the market is increasing world-wide we are finding that the device and format development is centred there. However, a eye should be kept on Canada and Japan. With the withdrawl of Sony, Kobo (now owned by Rakuten) while lacking in the brand strength of Amazon, provides a world-wide and less-restrictive option for publishers and authors.

Worthwhile reading

1. Ebook Architects. (s.a.).  Learn about ebook retailers. Available online: http://ebookarchitects.com/learn-about-ebooks/retailers/

2. Perry, J.  (2013). Apple, Amazon and B&N: Adds up to 125%?. Digital Book World. Available online: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/apple-amazon-and-bn-adds-up-to-125/

3. Brodkin, J. (2013). How Apple led an e-book price conspiracy — in the judge’s words. Ars Technica. Available online: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/07/how-apple-led-an-e-book-price-conspiracy-in-the-judges-words/

4. Morais, B. (2012). The Data-Driven, 21st-Century ‘Choose Your Own Adventure”. The Atlantic. Available online: http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/10/the-data-driven-21st-century-choose-your-own-adventure/263074/

5. Schatzkin, M. (2014). Sony exits and the ebook business loses an original player. Available online: http://www.idealog.com/blog/sony-exits-and-the-ebook-business-loses-an-original-player/


1. Gemmell, M. (2012). iBooks Author for Authors. Available online: http://mattgemmell.com/ibooks-author-for-authors/

2. Warren, C. (2012). Hands On: Apple’s iBooks Author App. Mashable. Available online: http://mashable.com/2012/01/19/ibooks-author-app-review/

3. Bjarnason, B. (2012). The iBooks 2.0. textbook format. Available online: http://www.baldurbjarnason.com/notes/the-ibooks-textbook-format/


1. Perry, J. (2013). The Amazon Timeline. Available online: http://www.digitalbookworld.com/2013/the-amazon-timeline/

2. Schatzkin, M. (2012). Hats off to Amazon. Available online: http://www.idealog.com/blog/hats-off-to-amazon/


1. Zimmerman, M. (2013) United States: Google Wins Summary Judgment In Books Case. Mondaq. Available online: http://www.mondaq.com/unitedstates/x/275480/Copyright/Google+Wins+Summary+Judgment+In+Books+Case

2. Owen, L. (2012). Google eBooks Now ‘Books On Google Play’, With Big Sales. GigaOm. Available online: http://gigaom.com/2012/03/07/419-google-ebooks-now-books-on-google-play-with-big-sales/

3. Eastman, D. (2013). Google Play versus Google Books. Available online: http://blog.eogn.com/eastmans_online_genealogy/2013/06/google-play-versus-google-books.html


1. Richmond, S. (2010). Kobo Reading Life makes reading ‘gamified’ and social. The Telegraph. Available online: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/technology/shanerichmond/100006106/kobo-reading-life-makes-reading-gamified-and-social/

2. Alfreds, D. (2012). Pick n Pay launches Kobo e-reader. News24. Available online: http://www.news24.com/SciTech/News/Pick-n-Pay-launches-Kobo-e-reader-20121101

Barnes & Noble

1. Solsman, J. (2013). Nook’s last stand? B&N still must battle Amazon. CNet. Available online: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57590937-93/nooks-last-stand-b-n-still-must-battle-amazon/


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