As was mentioned in yesterday's comments, however (thanks, Bron!), there is one major player whose motives and strategy we have yet to discuss: Apple.
The computer company is pushing for an agency model that will 1.) help them undermine the tremendous market share that Amazon currently holds in the e-book universe and 2.) allow them to participate in the market while actually turning a profit. While some have questioned the wisdom of the iPad device (and in many instances, rightly so), I think there's a market that is being seriously overlooked by various critics. One that involves young eyes that have grown up on and are unafraid of backlit screens. One that involves diagrams and photographs that come to life in brilliant color. One that involves one of the biggest rackets in the industry.
Textbooks. (Or, as I like to call them, Nextbooks™. See title of post.)
Yesterday, Apple Insider reported that publishers have tapped ScrollMotion to help develop textbook applications for the iPad. Personally, I think this genius. If Apple moves to develop applications for textbooks quickly and manages to shut other e-readers (black-and-white dedicated devices like the Kindle, Sony's e-reader, the soon-to-come Skiff and Que) out of the market, they're golden. Maybe they'll even make a model aimed at the educational market (the ePad™*?) equipped with only the basics and priced even more affordably than the current models. Apple makes bank, textbook publishers make bank, and school districts save a lot of money in the long run.
What do you think, gentle authors? Does Apple secretly (or not-so-secretly) have its sights set on the e-textbook market? Will it, like the music industry and the shiny-things-I-can't-afford industry, soon be in their spotless white pocket?
*Again, see title of post.