7 years ago, I had an iPod to listen to my music, a Nokia to call my friends and a GPS for my car. Then smart phones like the Iphone arrived and changed my habits and created big concerns for companies like Garmin, Sony, etc. Today, I can already tell there is another merge on the way and a big battle is brewing.
In my opinion, the next everyday object to be replaced (and on a massive scale!) will be: the book! Just like music and movies, the whole distribution model will have to evolve, creating a crisis for certain companies and opportunities for others. We may have to wait 10 years for a device that will completely replace my beloved books, but one day, it will come. As most of you probably know, we already have contenders: Kindle, Nook and even the Ipad!
We can buy physical books right now, read them, resell them but it is extremely difficult to reproduce them. The cost of a “real” book is no doubt more expensive than the digital version because of the manufacturing and distribution costs. The eBook, if it follows the same path of most digital mediums, will not be sold like a traditional book.
Most likely, you will be able to “buy a license” rather than own it. The book will be linked to your account or device and won’t be transferable. In other words, you will lose a lot of rights. To convince you to switch, eBooks will have additional features and carry a lower price tag. If the store ever closes, you will most likely lose access to the books you bought legally but the hacker who cracked the system will be safe. You will be able to store thousand of books in a slim device but it will never look as beautiful as a room filled with books (just like my favourite library: the Austrian National Library in Vienna).
What will the device feel like? Look at the upcoming iPad, merge it with a screen as good as the Kindle but in color, vivid as the new oled screens (just like the Nexus One).
Will companies be able to adapt or will they fight against an evolving world by trying to impose their obsolete models? What about schools? Will the students just pirate the most expensive books? What will change for an Internet strategist like me? Will I be able to buy publicity in ebooks that could be targeted to specific readers according to their personal profile? Publicity that will change depending on the time of day and location? That would be amazing! Who could provide such a framework? Could it be you?
There are a lot of great opportunities everywhere. The ebook market will be one of them. So what is your plan to take advantage of it? Now is an excellent time to prepare yourself for the next big revolution!