Publishers talk about Apple's tablet


We had a chance to speak with a few friends in the publishing business last week.  Both work in Manhattan for companies not previously quoted by the Wall St. Journal or Bloomberg but who were recently contacted by Apple with tablet information in the past two weeks.  Here’s what they’ve both corroborated:

  • Apple has been moving very aggressively over the past month and has stepped it up since the event announcement last week.   Both said they’d be surprised if Apple doesn’t have a deal of some sort worked out by launch.  This wouldn’t necessarily be a nuts-and-bolts type of deal, but one where they agree to work together. Apple can say at the event we’ve signed up “all of the major publishers”.
  • Apple has been pitching itself against Amazon’s model specifically to the publishers.  Apple’s Agency model gives publishers more control and freedom for pricing vs. Amazon who’ve recently restructured a small part of their publisher offering to compete with this surge by Apple.   We received the exact same wording from both people so we think this is the type of thing that Apple is touting to all publishers.  We might hear about “the Agency Model” vs. Kindle’s at the event.
  • Scrollmotion, the biggest current book contributor to the App Store, isn’t part of this deal and Apple is dealing directly with the publishers who are already signed up with Scrollmotion.  The deals would cut Scrollmotion out of the loop or as one exec put it: “The smaller outfits are going to get screwed”.  We’ve reached out to Scrollmotion for comment and will report back anything we hear.
  • Apple was looking for content to bring to the event — perhaps one example — but doesn’t expect to have large libraries of material in their book store until “mid 2010 at the very earliest”
  • Separately, one source said that no prototypes were brought to the meetings, but the tablet was described as “a very-readable 10-inch glass screen smaller in size than the Kindle DX with a similar weight.”  The Apple people also mentioned that the “software was the key to the experience and it would be the game changer”.  Apple also made the analogy of the shift from B&W televisions to Color with respect to the Kindle vs. the Tablet.
  • One other big thing: They say it isn’t going to cost anywhere near $1000 as has been reported elsewhere.

Remember, the EBook reading functionality is just one part of this device.  The tablet is also expected to be a game playing, media watching, netbook-competing powerhouse as well.

See you Wednesday!


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