Barnes & Noble & Microsoft
The field of e-book heavy hitters just got heavier. Microsoft and Barnes & Noble just introduced a parnership. The technology giant and maker of Windows pledget $605 million to help boost the Nook e-book business. If the traditional New York publishers didn't yet know who's shaping the future of publshing, the message is now loud and clear. The future of publishing belongs to technology companies.
Sorry, big six book publishers.* You guys are positioned to get ninety-sixed.
Let's take a look at which companies are innovating in the e-book industry. There's Amazon with Kindle and it's position as the world's Number One bookseller and its new publishing division. There's Apple with it's huge markeshare of smartphones and mobile devices and its Apple Store and its iBooks and iAuthor platforms.There's Google with its $8.3 billion operating income in 2010 (and that stat is 2 years old!) and it's hugely popular Android operating system that runs on smartphones and tablets. And now Microsoft is throwing its hat in the ring, big time, by parnering with Barnes & Noble, makers of Noon and the only living brick-and-mortar bookstore chain left in North America.
This is the landscape of publishing in the future. From here on in, these are the institutions making decisions on what books will be sold, which ones will be marketed most heavily and which ones will be bestsellers. Other than Barnes and Noble, there's not one New York-based company in the bunch. In fact, my humble location in Seattle seems well-positioned to be the hub of the oncoming e-book revolution. Let the excitement begin!
* The big six publishers are Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House and Simon & Schuster.