Feeds

AOL Time Warner shuts ebook biz

Harmful to print

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Remote control for virtualized desktops

AOL Time Warner is shutting down its e-publishing arm, iPublish, from the end of the year because the market "has simply not developed the way we hoped".

In the current economic climate, the chairman of Time Warner Trade Publishing Larry Kirshbaum continued, "we can't jeopardize our thriving print business by carrying a money-losing operation indefinitely into the future".

The closure of iPublish - which opened in April last year and was hailed as a "groundbreaking" online venture - will see 29 jobs go.

The news, added to the recent axing of Random House's ebook venture AtRandom.com (which was started several months after iPublish), has caused many to speculate that the electronic book market is a dead dodo.

However, themarket is gradually growing as people hear about electronic books and discover some of their advantages.

The same problems remain: most significantly from the user point of view reading long tracts on a backlit screen is not exactly comfortable; and portable eBook readers are quite pricey.

From the publishing side, security is a major concern - as detailed in the fury directed at Dmitri Sklyarov when he exposed flaws in Adobe eBook technology. Electronic files can be disseminated extremely quickly and with little effort. Running an Internet infrastructure when pickings are slim is costly and charging "as much as the market would bear" for an eBook hasn't helped with demand.

Nevertheless, many companies are still working away at electronic books confident that the logic of books in a digital format will forge a market some time soon. Even AOL Time Warner has said it will continue to digitise books, as will Random House. It is quite likely that we will see a resurrected iPublish in a couple of years. ®

Related Stories

WH Smith jumps on ebook bandwagon
MS eBook cracker keeps findings secret
Penguin embraces ebooks
Sklyarov boss exhibits cojones
eBook security debunker arrested by Feds

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
BIG FAT Lies: Porky Pies about obesity
What really shortens lives? Reading this sort of crap in the papers
Assange™ slumps back on Ecuador's sofa after detention appeal binned
Swedish court rules there's 'great risk' WikiLeaker will dodge prosecution
You think the CLOUD's insecure? It's BETTER than UK.GOV's DATA CENTRES
We don't even know where some of them ARE – Maude
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
How to determine if cloud backup is right for your servers
Two key factors, technical feasibility and TCO economics, that backup and IT operations managers should consider when assessing cloud backup.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?