Frankfurt 2009 & the rise of Digital

I’ve had a crazy old time since I returned home from the Frankfurt Book Fair last week so this is the first chance I’ve had to sit down and write a little about my time there, and an interesting time it was.

I again had the pleasure of having lunch with IDPF Executive Director, Michael Smith. There was no real agenda, it was just a chance for us to have a good chin-wag about ePub, how things are moving for the format and such other things. This year the IDPF held three sessions but due to my day job duties in London I only managed to attend one of his sessions; missing what I’m sure was an extremely interesting ‘EPUB Update and Tweaks and Tricks for EPUB on Devices’ session presented by Keith Fahlgren from O’Reilly – I’m wholey dissapointed about that.

Still, I did manage to attend the ‘New and Updated eBook Reading Devices’ which was rather interesting.

For this session there were four speakers; Michaël Dahan (Bookeen), Neelan Choksi (Lexcycle Stanza), Willem Endhoven (iRex Technologies) and finally Richard Siegersma (ECO Reader). All the speakers had some interesting things to say but a couple of points stuck out.

Michaël talked about their user statistics; 35+ age group consisting of 60% female, 40% male and that digital reader users are mainly for “heavy” readers. Michaël also told us that Bookeen will be releasing their Gen4 6” reader mid-March 2010.

Willem told us that iRex will also be releasing a new reader in mid-2011 which will be full-colour! I presume this is the reading screen itself and not a secondary screen like that of the new Barnes & Noble “nook”.

Networking Events

On the Thursday evening there was the IDPF Networking event which I have to say was much busier than last year, just goes to show how much the digital market and support for ePub has grown over this last 12 months.

I also had the pleasure of meeting up with several members of the Linkedin Ebooks, Ebook Readers Group hosted by Dominique Raccah (Sourcebooks). Only a handful of people attended but all were great people and we even had the pleasure of Margaret A. Harrison and the charismatic Steve Potash from OverDrive attending.

eBook Digital Reader Reviews

One of my goals for Frankfurt this year was to do a good bit of smooching with those digital reader people to procure some for review purposes – the results we actually quite positive.

My first meeting was with Phil Wood from Interead, where I had my first hands-on moment with one of their COOL-ER’s – man is that thing light! I also spoke with Royal-Line, who will be bringing the NUTT reader to Europe, iRex, and I also stopped by the Bookeen stand to check out their new Cybook Opus. I have to say the Opus does seem to be a very cool device indeed.

Phil agreed to send me one of their COOL-ER’s, Royal-Line gave me one of their NUTT readers there and then and Bookeen said there might be a possibility of sending me an Opus – from what I saw of the Opus, I do hope this is possible.

Along with the Sony Touch Edition, which I received just last week (a self purchase unfortunately), I will have three (possibly four) new reader reviews on the site before the end of November.

Digital Content is on the Rise

Anyone who’s been around the eBook world during the last 12 months can certainly confirm that we’ve seen a great increase in the interest of eBooks and digital readers and this was certainly reflected at the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair. There were more, bigger and better digital reader and content provider stands than ever.

All the talk round the net is that 2010 will be the year of the eBook – I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like at next year’s book fair, but I’m going to be there to experience it first hand!

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