The starting point for all of this was this beautiful and confusing online map of where publishing is headed – http://libros.soybits.com/images/422.gif. A lot of the websites were news to me and I’m just going through them and writing down what I think. I strongly believe that Amazon has the lead on owning the future of publishing. However, we’re at an early enough stage that another company or even something conceived in the next few months could become the one website to rule them all.
If you’re in a rush, the three websites that you ABSOLUTELY most check out are –
Anyways, here is the whole list -
eBook Shopping Websites
- Amazon’s Kindle Store – The biggest range and some of the best prices.
- Google Books – Will add in a link when they open a store. Pretty sure this isn’t going to get cut from Google’s arsenal as it’s potentially a huge revenue generator.
- FeedBooks.com – This is a serious contender and a website/software solution that aims to be the universal ereading platform that’s compatible with every mobile device. My take is they’re trying to be the Microsoft of the eReader business and turn the various reading devices into IBM. They were founded in 2007.
- Sony’s The eBook Store – Not much to say as it’s pretty decent and wholly unremarkable.
- Waterstones – Although Waterstones sell Sony’s Reader they have their own eBook store, with books in ePub format.
- Zoomii.com – I really don’t see the point – apparently it took 1.5+ years to code and it does look good. However, it’s not really offering anything other than visual UI improvements. I do think there’s a market for the creator to sell the technology for various niches.
- eHarlequin.com – Not my area of speciality so I’m not going to write much. I do love some of the titles though.
Publishing Related Websites
- Lulu.com – A really good website focused on self-publishing. If you’re going to self-publish a book or are considering it, definitely visit this site. And they have laser focus on their purpose and direction – helping creators publish their work. They support 7 languages, and now have 1.3 million registered members from 80+ countries. Lulu.com is definitely a great publishing website for the author side.
- Authonomy from Harper Collins aims to flush out the best writing talent. They look remarkably similar to what I had in mind with a self published author rankings site. Actually, if there’s one site on this list that you must check out – it’s Authonomy.
- BookSurge – An Amazon owned company (acquired in 2005) and provides a valuable service i.e. publishing books on demand.
- SmashWords.com – Probably #2 after Authonomy on the must check out list. I intended to do a full post on them, and will. A really good idea and a good site. If they discovered that there are other colors in the color spectrum besides white and blue their website would look even better. Also, their founder/CEO’s interview is a must-read. He really gets it.
- MagCloud – Wow. A site to create on demand magazines. This is probably #3 on the must check-out list, and one of the prettiest sites.
Document Sharing Websites
- Scribd.com – This website is a huge hit, and their latest innovation iPaper, which lets you view any document online, is becoming a huge hit – iPaper is to documents what flash is to movies. They seem to be drawing a lot of negative comments – However, I’m very impressed by iPaper and by the service they’re providing i.e. letting you share documents easily with friends and/or strangers.
- ISSUU – I like their user interface more than scribe – especially the search pages. Totally clueless on how popular they are, and how long they’ve been in the market.
Software + Mobile Software
- Sophie – Waiting till Oct 15th, 2009 is going to be hard – this looks to be a huge positive step for publishing and especially self publishing.
- FBReader is an ereader software that works on most mobile devices. Its open source and supports more formats than I knew existed.
- Calibre is an eBook library management application written by Kovid Goyal. It’s free, open source, and cross platform.
- Adobe’s Digital Editions – I don’t fully understand it, and all I can tell is that it might be very impressive if it does all that is promised.
- Nokia AudioBooks – A beta application from Nokia Beta Labs it’s a software that’s optimized for playing audio books on phones.
- GoSpoken – The website behind Vodafone Books on Mobile. they’ve signed up a lot of major UK publishers for this straight to cell phone audio book service.
Books Related Websites
- DailyLit – I’ve written about them before, and they’re a good site and they seem to be expanding their offerings and adding more features.
- KindleFeeder – A feed aggregation service for the Kindle that I’m surprised Amazon hasn’t shut down yet. It looks to be pretty useful.
- BookArmy – Getting a lot of buzz even though it hasn’t opened yet.
- bkkeepr.com – I don’t know what to say. I’m tempted to offer them one of my domain names so they stop self sabotaging themselves with a ridiculously hard to remember domain name. The service is really interesting and I’m going to try it out for a bit and let you know how it goes.
There’s a lot of innovation going on – and it bodes well for the future of books and the publishing industry. Amazon and the Kindle are going to take a significant bite out of the publishing market. However, there are a lot of websites that are going to make them work for it. Of course, the real threat for the Kindle is if someone manages to turn the Kindle and other ereaders into mere hardware and becomes the provider for core books, social interaction and book related services.