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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Monday, June 18, 2007

    If it DOESN'T work, scrap it

    Following on from my 'If it works, it;'s obsolete' post, there is some potentially worrying news reported in TeleRead: Bad Omen for Sony e-book store. Sony's Connect store is to phase out music and videos. As the writer says:
    But the death of the e-book-selling side, in time, or at least a severe cutback, wouldn’t surprise me. Remember, Sony killed off the Sony Clie line of PDAs in which it had invested years of efforts. Just why should the e-book store be different if it doesn’t pay off?
    The relatively slow rise of the European e-book reader, the iRex iLiad, could be a signal that we are not ready for personal e-books this side of the Atlantic too.

    Personally, I think that in both cases, it is the cost that has stopped mass acceptance. O'Reilly Radar also has a tip for the industry:
    One of the compelling lessons of the digital music revolution was that people wanted to acquire and share songs, not albums. The analogies to books are imperfect, because books tend to be more of an essential organic whole than albums, but even with books, especially reference or tutorial books, it's certainly possible that someone wants only part of a book. Based on this idea, we've had a goal for quite some time to enable "by the chapter" purchase and download.
    Of course, they are not the first to do it, but it is an important point, well made. Is the world just not ready for commuters carrying small libraries instead of a single paper-back?

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