Publishers fear repeating the mistakes of the music industry, which delayed exploiting digital businesses until Apple created iTunes, now the world’s largest seller of digital music.
The creation of the store comes on the heels of a devastating advertising decline for newspapers and magazines as consumers migrate to the web, where material is available free of charge. Amazon.com’s Kindle e-reader device and service has also emerged as the frontrunner in digital book sales, creating unease among publishers.
John Squires, an executive vice-president at Time overseeing digital development, has met publishers in recent months. He has also met about a dozen digital device makers to discuss the store.
A person who has seen demonstrations of the products said they do not merely reproduce the website or the print edition but allow readers to personalise the material and dive more deeply into subjects.
Publishers including Time have held separate talks with Apple about placing magazines on Apple’s forthcoming tablet device. The publishers’ product is designed to be technology “agnostic”, but it is unclear if or how the venture would work with other systems developed to charge for content.
I predict that in a couple of years we will be able to subscribe to our favorites online for small fees at one convenient location. Publishers just can't get organized and can't decide what the market will bear. Many are gone already. The rest had better not wait too long.
Meanwhile net neutrality will remain and much free original material will remain. Do not despair. It can be a win for both sides.