The next 3-5 years will likely be a very revolutionary period for stores as well. This theme was repeated over and over at the TOC conference last week and in other publisher venues I have tapped into lately. Our timeline to prepare is diminishing. Where is all the discussion of this topic within our portion of the industry???
Q4. What's the future of the text book? Do you think this model would
apply to other disciplines as well? Physics, marketing, philosophy?
The future of the textbook market is clearly shifting. You have products like
SafariU, iChapters, and CourseSmart beginning to emerge to solve a difficult
issue -- the high cost of textbooks. In addition, most higher-education courses
involve exposure to content from multiple sources which makes the cost of
purchasing all of the required and recommended reading for students out of
reach. So what happens is that students end up not even purchasing required content which must diminish the value of their educational experience. I'm not sure which model will emerge as the clear leader in this space...
Q5. What do you see as Safari's biggest competition, other ebook publishers or free stuff on the net?
Both! Our biggest partners (Google, Amazon, etc.) can potentially be our biggest competitors. And the balancing act is not getting any easier. Especially for technical reference-type books, how much do you give away for free on Google Book Search before it eats into your revenue stream possibilities? Does the exposure help or hurt sales? I think free content is great -- but I also think that there is a place for being able to search across and access good, vetted content from trusted sources. The next 3-5 years is going to be one of the most revolutionary periods for publishers in my opinion, especially in our space.