Today Disney Publishing is announcing the launch of Disney Digital Books (www.disneydigitalbooks.com), an online subscription service that will offer parents and kids Web access to Disney's library of children's books. A subscription costs $8.95/month or $79.95/year; subscriptions can be bought online or via gift cards that will be sold in retail locations. Initially, the site will launch with 500 books, and more content will be added on a weekly basis. (I asked whether Marvel Comics content, which will be available on the Sony PSP, would be available through the site and Disney said not at first, and it was too early to comment further.)
Today iRex announced the launch of its first consumer eReader, which will be available for sale for $399 at Best Buy, Costco, and other US retailers this holiday season, with distribution in Europe coming in Q2 2010. The skinny:
First, apologies for the radio silence--it's end of quarter here at Forrester, and I've been busy adding to shareholder value, etc.But I did want to add a quick comment on what's happened on the Google/publisher/eBook scene this week, as Google:
Launched the Fast Flip application. Google's launch of the Fast Flip application is an olive branch extended to publishers. For those of you who haven't used it, it's pretty cool: You search for a term, like "Kindle," and the results are presented as screenshots of major media publications (BusinessWeek, Fast Company, The Atlantic, NYTimes, Slate, etc.) that have covered the topic recently. You can read about a screen's worth, and flip to the next one by clicking the big arrows on the left or right, or click into the story to go to the publisher's web site and continue reading. Google shares ad revenue with publishers, and shows just enough content to encourage click-through to the publisher's site, where users see more ads.
Our take: For Google, the Fast Flip is an attempt to be a better partner to publishers. As much as publishers would like to think that Google needs them, only the reverse is true. But Google is starting to invest more in creating goodwill for publishers in the newspaper, magazine, and book sectors, and the Fast Flip is part of that effort.
A new Forrester report on the eReader market just went live (clients can access the full version here).
In brief: We surveyed 4,706 US consumers in an online survey to find out what value they place on eReader devices. We used a Van Westendorp Price Sensitivity Meter methodology to ask consumers four open-ended questions:
At what price would you consider an electronic book device/eBook reader a bargain?
At what price would you consider an electronic book device/eBook reader expensive but still purchase it?
What price would be so inexpensive that you would question the quality of an electronic book device/eBook reader?
What price would be so expensive that you would not consider buying an electronic book device/eBook reader?
We plot all the data and to find the optimal price range for different segments of consumers--what price you'd have to charge for the device to get the maximum number of consumers buying an eReader.
What we found was that the price points for how most consumers value eReaders is shockingly low--for most segments, between $50 and $99. (Currently, eReaders in the US are priced between $199 for the Sony Pocket Reader and $489 for the Kindle DX.)
Here you can see the breakdown for how different segments of consumers answered the question, "At what price would you consider an electronic book device/eBook reader expensive but still purchase it?":