Apple Inc. has invited journalists to a January 27th press event at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater in San Francisco. Without having any official information, the media rumor mill has been in overdrive with the expectation that the company will roll out a tablet-like device. Attendees have only been told to ‘come see our latest creation.’
Apple has been in talks with various publishers and this has helped fuel the expectation that a tablet like device to rival the Amazon Kindle may be announced. The Kindle was released in 2007 and is the current market leader in the nascent e-book reader market. Amazon has not released any sales figures so it is unknown how many are actually in use.
Electronic books make up only an estimated 3 to 5 percent of the current overall book publishing market, but this is expected to grow as technical issues such as battery consumption, e-ink technology, black and white versus color screens, internet navigation and content downloading mature and prove themselves in the marketplace. Book pricing will also be a point of contention as Amazon has been selling top hardcover titles for $9.99 in order to drive sales.
No matter what happens, the hope is that this emerging class of hardware devices can provide new opportunities and outlets for writers and bring some fresh innovation into the stagnant book publishing world.