Task Force To Create E-book Standards

Publishers Weekly reports that The Association of American Publishers\' has developed an \"action plan\" with regard to e-books that could be implemented by an association task force. The memberships goal in backing the study was to help the publishing industry \"seize the initiative\" in dealing with the fledgling e-book market, thereby preventing an outside entity from imposing its own standards on publishers.

Has the ALA started something like this? DO we as librarians need something like this? Are libraries ready for this future?
Representatives from Andersen said that publishers \"have a historic opportunity\" to develop an industry that could bring benefits to both themselves and consumers, but only if they act quickly. Andersen\'s primary recommendation was that the AAP facilitate the creation of an \"open standards solution\" that would include setting guidelines for digital rights management, numbering systems and metadata structures. Growth will also require support by publishers for \"innovation in a secure environment,\" Andersen advised. The consultants warned that if publishers fail to take the lead in working together to define standards, e-book market development \"will be slower, more chaotic and less profitable.\"

The consulting company predicted that an open standards environment would result in consumers \"being able to buy any e-book from any authorized source and read it on any authorized device.\" In addition, in an open environment, authors/agents, retailers and publishers would retain their present roles, and transactions would be visible to publishers, a situation that would permit them to ensure security and understand market trends.

The study presented an exceptionally optimistic outlook for e-book sales, estimating that by 2005 retail revenues in the consumer market could be as much as $3.4 billion, although revenues of $2.3 billion is more likely. The number of e-book reading devices was projected to jump from an estimated 30,000 to 28 million. The study also found that 70% of e-book revenues would be incremental.

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