Comment : Publishers Should Get Their Own Apple iPad

Apple's iPad has been hailed as the saviour of the publishing industry by many but the Cupertino company is acting like a consultant that look at your watch, tell you the time and then charge you a fortune for that.

The television industry has come up with Hulu, a joint venture of some of the biggest US Television networks and studios, when it was under intense pressure from Youtube.com and failing revenues.

The venture has been a smashing success in the US where Alexa ranks it as the 33rd most popular website, that's two slots behind Apple.com and ahead of the Huffington post and Cnet. Youtube.com is fourth.

The music industry already has already significant stakes in Spotify and appears to be willing to adopt an eat-as-much-as-you-can approach, opting for a monthly subscription as the lesser of two evils (the other being piracy).

As for the publishing industry, its mode of transmission hasn't changed for the past 970 years ever since Bi Sheng invented Movable Type in China, still relying on ink and paper.

Amazon's Kindle has started to shatter the confidence of publishers and content owners as more and more move online to get their news and consume media. Publishers, should, like the Television industry with Hulu, come up with their own reader.

The nearest thing to it was Barnes & Noble's Nook but as long as they do not have the own readers, they will remain, like the music industry learnt it bitterly with Apple and the iTunes, at the mercy of an external player.

But they will need to get the joint-venture right the first time and make sure that they do not get embroiled into internal fights. Europe already has a book publishers associations in Europe known as the FEP and there's an International Publishers Association which could help launch such an initiative.

Our Comments

Ultimately, content producers like McGraw-hill could find strength in numbers. Coming together would even allow them to control content they create and they could even start their own search engine - and maybe buy Yahoo.

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