Dispatches from the Digital Revolution
“Let him not quit his belief that a popgun is a popgun, though the ancient and honorable of the earth affirm it to be the crack of doom.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
With the digital revolution wreaking havoc on the world of publishing, it’s difficult to distinguish popgun from cannon. Every little move made by Amazon, Apple, Google, and Barnes & Noble takes on the aura of a chess move. Every little move seems to mean something.
Prime example being the enigmatic appearance of the NOOK Audio IE250 and NOOK Audio OE250 on the Barnes & Noble website on April 1, 2012 (in name alone), with photos appearing some weeks later.
What to make of this? Audio headphones and earbuds branded with the NOOK name? Engadget reached out to Barnes & Noble for clarification, but was met with a (predictable) “no comment” response. The rumor mill is abuzz with speculation.
Let’s consider the possibilities here.
Popgun: There is nothing behind it. Once they’re on the market, NOOK Audio products will simply serve as branded accessories.
Cannon: Structure and content overhaul. Barnes & Noble is forging ahead in creating its own digital ecosystem à la Amazon. Perhaps the company is constructing a new framework that will showcase and promote enhanced ebooks as a genre.
The cannon concept sounds pretty attractive—even if it doesn’t pan out in that direction. While enhanced ebooks appeared on the scene with less flamboyance than other media enhancements (3D movies, for example), there is still significant room for market outreach on the part of influential vendors.
But I suppose they’re biding their time…
Once standard, cost-efficient ereaders acquire the technological capabilities of current iPads (will it ever happen?), and once they become as ubiquitous as iPods, we might see enhanced ebooks finally taking center stage.