Apple’s approach to eBooks could be problematic


Even as Apple’s iPad is poised energize electronic reading, the new device is undermining a painstakingly constructed effort by the publishing industry to make it possible to move eBooks between different electronic readers, reports the Associated Press. The iPad will be linked to Apple’s first eBook store when it goes on sale in a few months. The books, however, will not be compatible with Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle or with the major alternative eBook system. Apple’s creation of a third choice is likely to further frustrate and confuse consumers if they accumulate eBooks for one device, then try to go back to read them later on a different one. The effect could be akin to having to buy a new set of CDs every time you get a new stereo system. It also could keep people from buying new eReaders as better models come out, if they aren’t compatible with the books they already have. This could cool consumers’ enthusiasm for eBooks, the way sales of digital music downloads were hampered by a variety of copy-protection schemes…

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