Feeds

AOL Time Warner shuts ebook biz

Harmful to print

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

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

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence
Download Choosing a Cloud Hosting Provider with Confidence to learn more about cloud computing - the new opportunities and new security challenges.
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.