Wednesday, May 25, 2011

BEA Day 1

I had so much fun walking around--in many ways, BEA feels like a big party for publishing people, particularly agents. Agents sort of get a pass to sit in panels, network, and, of course, swag.

This has been my experience in the past, but it certainly wasn't yesterday. As foreign rights director, I had to have, like "meetings." With some delightful publishers from Japan. Of particular interest were innovations that the publisher NHK (the BBC of Japan) is working on to bring ebooks to the Japanese market.

There's currently no hardware for reading ebooks in Japan. Consensus seems to be that this is because Japanese people are not interested in a dedicated reader device--something that only reads ebooks. It's a complaint that Western readers had, too but got over, and that is now being solved by WiFi and 3G readers. And the stupid iPad.

Instead of trying to get readers to adopt new hardware, NHK is working on a platform in mobile app form (it's only in Japanese so far, drat) that will allow people to tweet or post to facebook (and other social media sites, I'm sure) right from their reading environment--from their Kindle for iPhone app, for instance. So they can have their reader+ on their phone. The challenge will be getting people to read on a phone, but I'm seeing more of that even over here.

May be reiventing a couple wheels there, but it's an interesting approach. Our discussion centered on whether people even want that capability. These days, escape from social media and social _______ seem to be the main draws to reading for most.


  1. wow. That's pretty interesting. I wonder if they'll create phones with bigger screens. Reading on my tiny android is a pain and makes my eyes cross...

  2. I didn't know Japan weren't that keen on readers. It just goes to show, every market is different. It will be interesting to see how it all pans out. My eyes hurt at the thought of reading a book on my phone.

  3. If anyone can invent a new wheel, M, it's you! Glad you're back. Waiting on your overall BEA update...