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The future of publishing appears paperless
Friday, 04 December 2009 00:00

With the increasing popularity of electronic reading devices such as Amazon's Kindle, Sony's Reader and Barnes & Noble's Nook, the pressure on traditional publishers to make their content available to this new delivery medium has increased exponentially.

Hearst Corporation, which owns 15 daily and 49 weekly newspapers, just announced their Skiff service delivering digital editions of publication to electronic-book devices great and small.

Set to launch in 2010, Skiff is expected to rival Amazon's Kindle store and provide a wide assortment of virtual newspapers and magazines to various digital devices.

Hearst's approach, which has been silently under development for the past two years, will offer a digital storefront and a distribution back-end to allow publishers to quickly deliver content across devices.

"The platforms and devices that other people are building are not really appropriate for newspapers and magazines," explained Kenneth A. Bronfin, president of Hearst Interactive Media. "We are going to create an entity by publishers for publishers."

Time Inc. also unveiled its digital distribution plans last week when it demoed its digital magazine concept to come online mid-2010. Time's solution appears set to compete with Hearst's Skiff platform. Time's demo focused on Sports Illustrated, its first publication to be delivered digitally.

Condé Nast, one of the largest players in the magazine publishing space, also announced plans to bring its Wired magazine to the tablet and eBook reader format. Aiming for mid-2010 as well, Condé Nast plans to create digital versions of all 18 of its publications through AIR, a new publishing medium by Adobe.

Condé Nast CEO Chuck Townsend says his company is working closely with Hewlett-Packard and that it has also been communicating its plans to Apple. Apple has long been rumored to be working on a portable tablet device that, among other things, is expected to compete in the eBook reader market.

 

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