Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Books Hardware Technology

Hearst Launching Kindle Competitor and Platform "By Publishers, For Publishers" 155

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the thinking-bigger-picture dept.
The Hearst Corporation has announced their intention to launch an e-reader competitor to Amazon's Kindle and a supporting store and platform that is much more "publisher friendly." More details are available form their official press release this morning. "Launching in 2010, Skiff provides a complete e-reading solution that includes the Skiff Service platform, Skiff Store and Skiff-enabled devices. Skiff will sell and distribute newspapers, magazines, books, blogs and other content. Skiff gives periodical publishers tools to maintain their distinct visual identities, build and extend relationships with subscribers, and deliver dynamic content and advertising to a range of dedicated e-readers and multipurpose devices."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Hearst Launching Kindle Competitor and Platform "By Publishers, For Publishers"

Comments Filter:
  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:47PM (#30327782)
    Translates to: Screw the authors & screw the customers.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:49PM (#30327802)

      Exactly what I thought. As a customer, why do I want a platform that caters, not to me or the author, but to the publisher?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by jkauzlar (596349)
        Currently, according to popular rumours, Amazon takes 70% for themselves on Kindle purchases. From that figure, it doesn't sound like publishers are doing too well, and I know from my literary fiction instructor that they're operating on bare bones. What I want is an open format/protocol that allows publishers to register in some central, open registry and optionally provide payment preferences, etc. That way, there is no distributor like Amazon-- it goes straight from the publisher to the consumer.

        Second

        • by metamatic (202216)

          Any publisher who wants to can sell Kindle-compatible ebooks on their own web site, not go via Amazon, and not pay Amazon's cut.

          They just can't do so while screwing the customer with DRM.

          That's a choice I rather like them having to make.

    • by Chyeld (713439) <chyeld AT gmail DOT com> on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:57PM (#30327918)

      Executive Summary: We are out of our frigging minds and don't realize this is going to bomb faster than the orginal DIVX.

    • Even worse (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:02PM (#30327986)

      The unit has two spikes that can deploy on command/DRM violation, rendering the user blind.

      But it does have a nice display.

      • by couchslug (175151)

        "The unit has two spikes that can deploy on command/DRM violation, rendering the user blind."

        Your ideas intrigue me and my company would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

    • by timeOday (582209) on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:21PM (#30328218)

      Translates to: Screw the authors & screw the customers.

      Are you so sure? Alienating customers won't help publishers any, since they're where the money comes from. I'm sure the prevailing slashdot assumption will be that publishers somehow fail to realize this, but I doubt that. The fact is, both parties in any business transaction are participating for their own benefit; that doesn't preclude rational self interest, i.e. providing value, too.

      So here is why this might work: Skiff eliminates a middleman, namely Amazon. Thus consumers could end up paying less, while publishers (and even writers) get more. You can go on all you like about how evil and stupid publishers are, but they're already part of the process; the only difference is, no Amazon. What if Skiff ends up a lot like Kindle, but with a lower price for professionally written and edited content?

      • by Zerth (26112) on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:33PM (#30328424)

        Actually, Amazon has also been getting rid of the other middleman, publishers. I've been finding a few decent short to novel length ebooks in Amazon's self-published section for quite cheap($2-4).

        Until somebody starts reviewing them, they aren't easy to find and there is a much higher chance of crap without the filter of marketability, but that filter works both ways. I've read a few I know would never have been put in print because they were too niche.

        Plus, I know the authors get a better cut than if I had bought the hardback.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Yup, Amazon and Publishers are both "middle men", between Authors and Customers.

          My guess, is that at least ONE middle man between the two is ideal, a bazaar, a single place where authors can meet and sell to their customers. It would require standards.

          I can even seeing a couple three alternative choices out there, including Amazon and the Publisher's Marketplace, and perhaps one built by and for authors.

          Layers and layers of "middle men" are not needed anymore. I am about to self publish a book, so I would

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by stripes (3681)

            Layers and layers of "middle men" are not needed anymore.

            Or more to the point, each layer of middle men need to add value. Between author and reader the author wants someone to deal with all the bother of collecting money, the reader wants someone to deal with filtering out all the obviously bad works, and either or both the author and reader wants someone to fix up the language usage and the other nice stuff the publisher's editor normally does. There are some other tasks in there that are useful as

            • by Zerth (26112)

              Filters already exist outside of publishers, called "reviewers" or "friends" or "preference correlation graphs". Publishers are only filters because they are a chokepoint in the system.

              You might find that certain reviewers carry more power than others and try to bribe them to review your book, but if the reviewer just rubberstamps books for pay, they won't have any weight when correlated with a reader's preference database.

              Similarly, editors are only middlemen if they work for the publishers. If an author

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by AmiMoJo (196126)

          Amazon does seem to understand that they are middlemen between the author/artist and the consumer. They are trying to set themselves up as just a marketplace, a place where consumers can review things and the authors can get paid. They don't edit self-published books, they don't provide authors with advances or try to dictate what sort of material gets written and published.

          Basically they provide the services authors need to sell books and consumers need to buy them. Nothing more.

          Look at how their music sto

        • There is an amazingly multiplatform reader "wattpad", it has applications for every kind of platform you can imagine including J2ME.

          The content looks like crap sometimes but you can see the incoming nightmare of big publishers. People can sit with a keyboard and write actual novel you know. This time, they can publish it electronically too. Just like Youtube.

          "Have you been published?" "No but, I got like 3.000.000 readers who read my story. How many books have you sold?"

          It is too early to talk about yet, th

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Skiff eliminates a middleman, namely Amazon...

        Which is a worthless point since that elimination will not be passed on to the consumer in the form of "cheaper than Kindle".
      • Customers are not the primary source of income for publishers.

        Ads are.

        What this will be is Kindle--, now with extra ads. Ads you can't skip. Ads interrupting you every 60 seconds while reading a story. Ads that pop up between stories and can't be avoided.

        Did I mention the ads?

      • Most of you are perfectly okay with companies treating their customers like cr@p. It's called the entertainment industry.

        Bluray is even worse than the DVD in terms of limiting your clearly defined rights to personal use and dramatically raising the costs of entertainment. How many of you are loading up on those BluRay players/content this holiday season? You are happy about it too.

        I think the basic notion that this will fail is right. It will fail because they will seek to extract similar profits AND la

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)

        No. Skiff eliminates Amazon, to be replaced with itself. This is just Hearst wanting a piece of Amazon's pie, and they think that appealing to the content distributors is going to be the way to produce a better product... yeah, I'm not following either.

      • by dangitman (862676)

        You can go on all you like about how evil and stupid publishers are,

        Yes, we can.

        I'm not so sure about evil, but most publishers really are fucking stupid. Not just slightly dumb, but so stupid you wonder how they put on their shoes in the morning. Which makes it unsurprising that they would fall for a plan like "Skiff." I can just see them ooohhhing and aaahhhing at the Powerpoint presentation and the fancy buzzwords.

        • by tnk1 (899206)

          That's not just publishers. Most execs are too stupid to realize that powerpoint presentations do not equal success.

          And they wonder why their employees doze off in the middle of their presentations where all they are doing is reading the Powerpoint slides off the screen.

          To them, genius looks like a few KPI charts and some clip art borders. It's a wonder that businesses still even function at all these days.

          • by dangitman (862676)

            That's not just publishers. Most execs are too stupid to realize that powerpoint presentations do not equal success.

            I don't know about "most." I think that most executives and managers are smart enough to see through that, but publishing is a field in which the upper-management is particularly stupid. Of course, there may be fields in which management is equally stupid, but that doesn't mean it's true across the board.

      • by amplt1337 (707922) on Friday December 04, 2009 @04:28PM (#30329182) Journal

        This is great in theory, but not how it works in practice.

        In practice, publishers are terrified, because they make all their money in hardbacks. But nobody except for a few freaks (the "I'll never touch a paper book again!" crowd) is actually willing to pay hardback prices for an e-book. eBooks are a much better natural competitor to mass market paperbacks.

        Well, okay, that's great, but why not just sell the ebook for cheaper? Amazon would love to. The problem is that the cost to print and bind an individual book (the unit cost) is pennies. Most of the price of a book is in the fixed (i.e. not-per-unit), upfront cost of editing, putting the files together, and (the big one) marketing. (And that's not just subway ads. It's mainly marketing to bookstores, and to the TINY HANDFUL of buyers who actually get to decide what books Borders and Barnes & Noble carry, and thus what Americans read.)
        Publishers cannot cope with this. Their business will collapse if they release ebooks at the same time as hardcovers, because the ebook would horrifically undercut their hardcover margins. But they cannot afford to set a market expectation that an ebook costs a reasonable (i.e. under-$15) amount. They cannot afford to do anything that discourages people from buying hardcovers; why cannibalize your own business? And they will not get fully behind the ebook platform so long as that fundamental logic stays the same.

        That's for book publishers, anyway, which is what the parent was about. From TFS, it sounds like this is as much about the newspaper and magazine business, who seem to think that people will magically want to pay for their content if you put it on e-paper instead of the e-, er, internet. GLWT, lemme know how it works out, I'll just be over here browsing the real web from my smartphone...

        • by stripes (3681)

          But nobody except for a few freaks (the "I'll never touch a paper book again!" crowd) is actually willing to pay hardback prices for an e-book.

          There are some people that are extremely space constrained (fulltime RVers for example) who won't buy paper books, but I would't say are freaks. Well, technically they are more weight constrained then space constrained for books. I don't think many of them want to pay hardback prices for ebooks, but some will. The people that pay hardback prices for ebooks te

          • by amplt1337 (707922)

            I think your conception of this is interesting from a pure economics standpoint, but it's a little off from how publishers are actually viewing the situation.

            The hardcover release *is* the release, set at a price that the market will bear that attempts to maximize profits. Indeed, usually there's only that first run of hardcovers (with the exception of big hits). Books that meet or exceed expectations and are felt to still have legs then get a mass-market release, as "bonus" revenue, trying to squeeze a f

            • by stripes (3681)

              I think your conception of this is interesting from a pure economics standpoint, but it's a little off from how publishers are actually viewing the situation.

              Fair enough, I'm not an author or a publisher, so I don't know how they really work. It is the model movies use. Theater release (in fact in 4 different runs), Cable TV release, DVD priced to rent, PPV release, DVD priced to own. Oh, and digital downloads are in the mix somewhere. Foreign and domestic releases as well. All timed to try to

              • by winwar (114053)

                "The interesting question is how transparent can you make the "price decay" part before people stop being happy when they get something for the price they want, and start being resentful when they pick their price (or decided to wait)."

                The transparent part is the issue. Ever notice that new DVD's go on sale, then revert to full price, then eventually fall in price? It is not very predictable. Likewise, I know that the paperback will be cheaper or that the hardcover will be discounted but not when. But i

      • Are you so sure? Alienating customers won't help publishers any, since they're where the money comes from.

        Yeah, and cable TV, internet and mobile subscribers are where the money comes from, so obviously providers in those industries would never do anything to screw their customers. Business transactions, rational self interest, providing value and all that good stuff.

        I worked in the book industry for 7 years that spanned the short-lived Rocket eBook generation of electronic books. I can assure you that the majority of publishers I worked with (my employer represented more than 100 independent publishers) woul

    • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:25PM (#30328288) Homepage Journal

      Translates to: Screw the authors & screw the customers.

      Many don't know that copyright in England was originally put in place to protect the authors from the publishers, not the readers with their pirate ink plates.

    • Ehhh. I won't even consider the technology or the product. The name is enough for me to decide what I think. Hearst. Patty Hearst. The terrorist little bitch with the rich daddy. Should properly have been executed decades ago. Fuck 'em. Given the choice between being screwed by a Hearst, or a Jobs, or a Gates, or any of dozens of other rat bastards, Hearst will come in last. I hope their reader turns into one HUGE money sink, that never makes them two cents.

    • If it is "by publishers for publishers", only people who will buy it are publishers themselves. E.g. Dan Brown's manager.

  • Who's their purported customer?

    Despite all the problems with the Kindle -- poor PDF support, low-contrast screen, Orwellian fears -- it makes for a mighty-fine reading experience for users. From a publisher's perspective it stinks, with Amazon reportedly sucking down 70% of a sale's proceeds.

    How much of a markup does a brick and morter store that sells dead tree books have? I've heard that it's about 70%, so what's their problem, anyway?

    Skiff promises better graphics and better layouts of digital content, w

    • by selven (1556643)

      How much of a markup does a brick and morter store that sells dead tree books have? I've heard that it's about 70%, so what's their problem, anyway?

      70% markup != you get to keep 30%. If you only get to keep 30%, that's a 233% markup not a 70% one.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by NoYob (1630681)
      With a brick & mortar store, that 70% (gross) pays for: insurance, property taxes on equipment and real estate if they own the property, building, employees pay, utilities, rent, etc....

      Amazon: that 70% (gross) of the price of an electronic copy of a book that has an marginal cost approaching zero is just about all profit.

      Personally, I think when it comes to electronic books, the royalties to the author should be based upon what a printed book would cost, the publisher works out a cost plus system for c

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        I never could understand why ebooks were so expensive, and it's one reason of many I don't own a reader. I don't see any reason why a paperback version of a book should cost less than an electronic version.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by NoYob (1630681)

          I don't see any reason why a paperback version of a book should cost less than an electronic version.

          Me neither.

          The Kindle device has a life of what? Five years? Ten, maybe if its taken care of really well? And all the kindle books are tied to that device - are they not? That paperback book will be around for decades after that Kindle has had to be thrown into the garbage - along with all those expensive Kindle version of those books.

          • I don't see any reason why a paperback version of a book should cost less than an electronic version.

            Me neither.

            The Kindle device has a life of what? Five years? Ten, maybe if its taken care of really well? And all the kindle books are tied to that device - are they not? That paperback book will be around for decades after that Kindle has had to be thrown into the garbage - along with all those expensive Kindle version of those books.

            No, the books are tied to your amazon account. If your Kindle dies you can link another kindle to your account and re-download all your books. You can get a second kindle for your wife linked to your account and you both have access to your entire library. You can get the kindle app for the iPhone and read your entire library there as well. AND if you have a kindle and an iPhone and read for awhile on one, when you open that book on the other device it picks up where you left off on the first device!

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            I still have the paperback versions of LOTR and Foundation. LOTR I bought around 1970, Foundation even earlier. Of course, the pages are brown and the covers are coming off, but they're still readable and have been read many times.

            If I'd bough hardcovers with acit-free paper they'd likely still be like new.

        • by Scorchio (177053)

          The ebook prices are ridiculous. I was tempted to download a book for the Kindle app on my ipod touch. Amazon cheerfully informed me the digital version was $9.99, the paperback was $7 new or around $2.50 used. What?! This is exactly the reason that I haven't bought an actual Kindle device.

          • by dangitman (862676)
            The thing about paperbacks is that they often print too many. Therefore, storing the unsold copies becomes a burden, so the seller wants to get rid of the stock to use that storage space for something else. The whole thing is an exercise in waste. Funny how people are always attacking oil and car companies over environmental concern, but the publishing industry somehow escapes a lot of criticism, because books are 'quaint' or aesthetically appealing or something.
        • by amplt1337 (707922)

          This is a really common question, and it has to do with the economics of book publishing. Sorry for linking you to my own post, but the odds of you going back up to see it are slim, so: see here [slashdot.org].

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cmiller173 (641510)

        Amazon: that 70% (gross) of the price of an electronic copy of a book that has an marginal cost approaching zero is just about all profit.

        I'm pretty sure that amazon has to kick some cash over to the wireless carrier(Sprint) to cover whispernet. And maintenance on the servers, IT guys saleries, etc. The biggest piece being the payment to Sprint.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by dangitman (862676)

        Amazon is making a killing off of Kindle books and they're not passing that on to subsidize the price of the Kindle device. Without subsidies, they could sell that device for almost half and make a decent living on it. With subsidies, they could those suckers for $50 - easily.

        I think part of the problem is that they can't make them fast enough to meet demand. This is just speculation based on the availability problems the Kindle has had, but it wouldn't surprise me at all. E-Ink displays aren't exactly a common consumer technology at the moment. When it does become common, and manufacturing issues are sorted out, you probably will see those kind of prices.

        If you can't make enough to meet demand, why would you lower prices?

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        Charging a price close to a paper book for an electronic book just seams wrong to me - one of the largest costs of a printed book is its paper and ink.

        Your average book costs less than $2 to make in quantity. It might cost another $0.50 to ship it in a box with 20 others just like it.

        You are completely wrong about the costs in the publishing business. Most of the cost is editing and promotion. The author gets a small bit and yes, the bookseller gets to add somewhere between 50% and 100% markup.

        Now, I suppose you might be able to sell a book for $1 if there was no editing and no promotion. But it would be mostly unreadable garbage. I can find you some

    • by Enry (630)

      I've had books published (one even reviewed here), but that was almost 10 years ago, so YMMV (but IAAA (I Am An Author)):

      How much of a markup does a brick and morter store that sells dead tree books have? I've heard that it's about 70%, so what's their problem, anyway?

      It's usually on the order of 100% markup (so a $10 book from the publisher goes for $20). I should also note that authors get a percentage of the publisher sales price, so if a book sells for 30% off or at full price, the publisher and author receive the same amount.

      Despite all the problems with the Kindle -- poor PDF support, low-contrast screen, Orwellian fears..

      Having owned a Kindle 2 for the past two months, the PDF support doesn't bother me (and is apparently fixed in the latest r

      • by dissy (172727)

        Having owned a Kindle 2 for the past two months, the PDF support doesn't bother me (and is apparently fixed in the latest release). The screen and form factor are FAR better than I thought they'd be. It's easy to read in just about any light, and it's as easy to hold as a thin paperback book. As for the Orwellian fears, I have to admit the first thing I'm doing with the Kindle is getting books I already own, but want to reread so I can donate the book to the library or some charitable organization - did I mention I have a LOT of books?.

        I have to fully agree about the kindle hardware. It is a mighty fine ebook reader in and of itself.
        I don't care for reading on a computer screen, unless it is for reference or extremely short to keep eye strain to a minimum. The kindle display is a pleasure to look at in comparison, and I would guess about as easy on the eyes as regular paper.

        It has decent open-book format support, which is a deal breaker for me. I refuse to support DRM in any way. Anyone thinking of using DRM to annoy a paying customer

  • They appear to ahve mid-identified their customers.

    • by DinDaddy (1168147)

      or, you know, have misidentified. I think I shall go trade in several of my thumbs for fingers.

  • Love that their logo has a lit joint in it.

  • I'd say this skiff was dead in the water.

  • Crash (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hackus (159037) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:52PM (#30327850) Homepage

    and BURN baby....burn!

    Hey I got a great idea? Lets make everyone pay for a crummy E-Reader at high prices PLUS make them pay for the book subscriptions, PLUS sell advertising to make the reading even less enjoyable after the user gets the bill!!

    PLUS we can just kill the book we sell, so the customer can never have a copy and of course, we can sell the same book to them twice!!!

    -Signed...your average everday greedy American Corporate Scum.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Do you think they intend to torture consumers until they buy the device? Or something like that?

      And force authors to use that publisher? Why not just self-publish using PDFs? Many authors could do that, you know. And if you get so outraged at publishers and the way they treat their authors, then maybe don't read the authors that consent to dealing with those publishers (probably for monetary gain, I suppose?).

      I don't know how Hearst is going to MAKE everyone pay for a costly e-reader.

      • Do you think they intend to torture consumers until they buy the device? Or something like that?

        And force authors to use that publisher?

        No, they're going to make it attractive for publishers, pay them for exclusives, make it not super inconvenient for readers, encourage subsidized reader programs in schools, give them away like iPods, sell them to college students promising cheaper textbooks, etc. Then they're going to torture the customer, once they've become a preferred conduit for the paperback market.

    • and BURN baby....burn!

      You bring up a good point.. How are we supposed to have a good, Fahrenheit 451 style book burning, with E-books?

      they require way too many accelerants to burn with the same intensity!

  • by L3370 (1421413) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:53PM (#30327862)
    More competition and new products entering the E-reader market? Awesome. I love it

    If they think I'm still going to pay the price of a hardcover book for nothing but a digital copy that can be revoked from my reader, I'M STILL NOT BUYING THIS JUNK.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Lazlo Woodbine (54822)
      Maybe if the gave it away like the CueCat? My hope is that it will be possible to use this device in ways that weren't foreseen.
      • The CueCat is a fabulous example of how not to give away free technology.

        They need to give it away like the iPod - in contests, sweepstakes, Oprah shows, affiliate deals, car trade-ins and open houses.

      • Maybe if the gave it away like the CueCat? My hope is that it will be possible to use this device in ways that weren't foreseen.

        Yeah, just like the CueCat, this thing will make billions of dollars and become a widely accepted technology used by everyone. Those Cuecat guys really knew how to monetize a product!

        The lesson here is, if you really want to make the big bucks, put a silent colon in front of every syllable.

    • by Blakey Rat (99501)

      The more competition there is, the more likely that'll go away.

      Just like higher competition in the online music sales market basically killed DRM for online music.

  • The Kindle for all its annoyances attempts to be as customer centric as possible.

    But this, "publisher centric" model seems really l8me... EG, advertisements built into the fabric?

    Mystery, unavailable devices?

    An over-leveraged print empire driving it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Al Dimond (792444)

      Iunno, the Kindle makes a lot of sacrifices to publishers. Including incredibly stupid sacrifices like allowing them to disable text-to-speech for whatever books they want (I don't have a Kindle but I know some people that work for Amazon, one of whom does marketing for Kindle).

      Amazon's model seems to be centered around itself foremost, and clearly it must balance customer and publisher demands. If this other company wants to cater more to publisher demands I guess they can try it that way. But don't tell t

      • by cdrguru (88047)

        If you are a big publisher, you get to select if text-to-speech is disabled. I am just waiting for that to bite someone when the first "Read by a Kindle" audiobook is released for $0.50.

        If you are doing self-publishing through Amazon, you do not get to elect to disable text-to-speech unless you pay Amazon to do the Kindle conversion for you. Last I heard it was a flat fee of $10,000.

        If you don't believe the "Read by a Kindle" audiobook will sell, you are probably wrong. And for a major hardcover book wit

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      But this, "publisher centric" model seems really l8me

      Rather "late me?" Do you mean "14me"?

  • by BrianRaker (633638) on Friday December 04, 2009 @02:59PM (#30327950) Homepage Journal

    I wish them luck in this venture... they're going to need it with a market that already has widely accepted semi-user-friendly devices (Amazon Kindle, Sony eReader, etc).

    Also, haven't they learned their lesson already in other markets? Publisher (content-owner) friendly rarely ever is accepted by the marketplace as it wasn't designed with the end user (the people PAYING for this "service").

  • Any product not designed "By Customers, For Customers" is doomed to failure. Seriously, I don't want an e-book reader that makes the publisher's life easier; I want an e-book reader that makes MY life easier! And since the customer, not the publisher, is the one purchasing this device, I don't anticipate a huge number of sales.
    • by dangitman (862676)

      Any product not designed "By Customers, For Customers" is doomed to failure.

      Any product designed by the customers is doomed to failure. Do you really think that the customers have any idea about how to design/engineer a product?

  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Friday December 04, 2009 @03:24PM (#30328274)

    ...the publishers are the reason it all exists. Long live the middleman!

  • by ewe2 (47163)

    *waves goodbye*

    In other news, publishers get their priorities right: At The Dallas News, a New "Bold Strategy": Section Editors Reporting to Sales Managers [dallasobserver.com] Says it all.

  • So, why should I buy a product designed with the publishers' interests in mind over a product with the customers' interests in mind? I don't particularly care about the publishers' interests, but I do care about mine.
  • I hope a lot of publishers go and buy these things, they'll apparently be really happy with them. I just hope they aren't expecting consumers to actually buy any.
  • Sounds nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by calmofthestorm (1344385) on Friday December 04, 2009 @04:21PM (#30329074)

    targeted ads, complete publisher control. Where can I pick mine up, and how much will I get paid per month to use it?

  • Great. Then they can use the friggin' thing, because I sure won't.
  • Another expensive ebook reader. I'll stick to my 7" Chinese Chuwi M70 PMP. No it's not e-ink but I don't care for e-ink anyways. I don't need any proprietary formats or DRM either. I want a adjustable brightness/contrast back lit ebook reader (text format) which my Chuwi does flawlessly and plays most music formats and HD videos as a bonus. I don't have to worry about my connected device deleting paid for books at the command of a publisher either.
  • Do they mean to suggeest that the only people who read papers and magazines are the people who publish them? If so this industry is in more trouble than I expected. Either way this is a moronic stance to take. Where does the customer come in?
  • Sounds like a job for... the Symbionese Liberation Army!

    (Those who wish to mark this off-topic are respectfully invited to get off my lawn!)

  • by TomRC (231027) on Friday December 04, 2009 @05:32PM (#30330048)

    Note that Skiff is aimed (initially) primarily at magazines and newspapers, not books. That has a different use model - not "buy and keep", but mostly "buy, skim & read, discard". Sure, Kindle does magazines and newspapers too - but clearly not as well as might be done with a larger, color display.

    Websites already fill this need, mostly for free - but web publishers can't cover costs of in-depth news and make a profit.

    To get the market share they need AND avoid hardware freeloaders, Skiff will have to offer a hardware + 3 year multi-magazine subscription bundle for at least $10/month, probably $15. They can beat out paper magazines by giving people who'd normally subscribe to only one or two magazines, access to dozens for the same price, creating a higher perceived value.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by vcgodinich (1172985)
      Larger color e-ink display? 3 years @ 15$ will not even cover the hardware. . .

      Magazine subscriptions are cheap right now, mostly around 2 dollars a magazine, on a yearly plan. If this is the idea, to make a magazine reader, its a poor one.

      Newspapers are better, but the Kindle already does this. Yes, we ALL want a large cheap color e-ink display, but it simply isn't here yet

    • by euxneks (516538)

      To get the market share they need AND avoid hardware freeloaders, Skiff will have to offer a hardware + 3 year multi-magazine subscription bundle for at least $10/month, probably $15. They can beat out paper magazines by giving people who'd normally subscribe to only one or two magazines, access to dozens for the same price, creating a higher perceived value.

      I can tell you right now, no amount of cost savings is going to get me to buy something built for publishers - this implies to me they don't care about consumers, and they can revoke content or make me view ads when all I really want to do is read stuff by content providers - I'm fine with having full page ads, but I need to be able to skip them - and something designed for publishers is not going to allow that.

  • Hearst Corporation announce the development of a Kindle type gadget publishers can use to publish their last will and testament, their memoirs and their suicide notes.
    Rupert Murdoch is first to place an advance order.
  • Is there a popular book about business management that suggest to target the largest marketshare owner?

    First Palm claims they will kill iPhone, Verizon attacks directly AT&T/Apple and now this.

    Such basic "rule of thumb" things do not work. You can't beat Amazon in anything online unless you change the way you think. Amazon would happily allow _your_ ads inside their pages. Do you have such vision? Amazon could let you use their own idle processing power for your services and can happily rent cheap bandw

  • Meaning its another brick not worth having.

  • Amazon apparently makes small margins on their ebooks (and in some cases take a loss when a user makes a wireless purchase). The profits mostly go towards the publishers because Amazon wanted to sign up so many of them so quickly they didn't negotiate well. I think what publishers are realizing is that when it's time to negotiate future deals with Amazon that they will be in deep doo-doo. Gravy train is over for publishers, and they are scrambling to get back the deal by building a platform and infrastructu

  • In summary, the important points:
    • The goal of Skiff (from the press release): "connect publishers and marketers with consumers". Translation: getting advertising to the consumer is just as important as getting content to the consumer. The isn't anything the consumer wants; we see where their priorities are.
    • Eliminate the middleman: Who the heck said this? It isn't in TFA or even in TFS. Skiff wants to be the middleman.
    • Kindle; no control over your content: Lots of comments complain about the Kindle, the

We warn the reader in advance that the proof presented here depends on a clever but highly unmotivated trick. -- Howard Anton, "Elementary Linear Algebra"

Working...