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Publishers make pact on e-readers official

updated 11:55 am EST, Tue December 8, 2009

Pubs want universal e-text platform

True to a late leak, five major American publishers today cemented plans for a joint venture to promote a universal standard for digital magazines and similar content. Condé Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp and Time expect the unnamed company to develop digital magazines that will be readable on many platforms, including different operating systems and screen sizes, such as computers, smartphones and tablets. The technology will also be designed such that it should scale up to color reading devices with mixed media like animations and video.

The format will also aim to centralize the storefront and give rights to read a publication on any supporting device no matter where it's been bought. Advertising is ultimately expected to evolve away from static images to take advantage of Internet connections and more powerful hardware.

As expected in one leak, Time executive VP John Squires is leaving to run the venture and hopes to become CEO later on.

Most of the companies involved in the venture have been preemptively developing their own platforms, such as Hearst's Skiff, but are expected to ultimately work together. The publications are primarily targeting e-book readers but have been developing with the expectation of supporting a still rumored but widely anticipated Apple tablet, with Condé Nast and Time going so far as to prototype a tablet format with the expectation they could adapt it to the touchscreen slate through an app.

By Electronista Staff


  1. bleee

    Mac Enthusiast

    Joined: Mar 2002


    Treading a fine line with DRM and ADS

    " Advertising is ultimately expected to evolve away from static images to take advantage of Internet connections and more powerful hardware."

    It's going to be interesting to see how the publishers balance DRM and internet aware content, readers going to e-book will be used to buying magazines with static print ads. I wouldn't want a pop up while I'm in the middle of reading a paragraph. Also how would they justify charging the user if they're getting "page" views from the content itself kind of like double dipping no?

    Does anyone remember back in the day when one of the touted benefits of DVD was that they didn't come with 20 minutes worth of trailers? They'll also probably make the content non-transferable again another downside of going e-book, with print I can alway lend my copy to someone else.

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