Kindle-less and e-reader-less, I'm just starting to learn about electronic publishing, even though all of my novels are available as e-books.
I attended an e-publishing panel at our inaugural California Crime Writers Conference during the weekend of July 13-14 and it was fascinating. E-publisher Marci Baun, e-published pioneering author Marilyn Meredith, and Poisoned Pen acquiring editor Annette Rogers were all there to give their take on the future of digital books.
Some stuff I learned:
1) Formats. There are at least eight and more e-publishing formats out there--Adobe PDF, Microsoft Reader, HTML, Kindle (which bought mobipocket software), etc. Recently the Association of Digital Publishers have chosen a standard format--"epub"--and wants all their members to comply. Apparently epub has conversion issues but offers a lot of features. Like the battle between VHS and Betamax in the video age (remember way back then?), who knows which standard will catch on?
2) One million iPhone readers. There's a iPhone e-book reader application, Stanza, which has been downloaded at least one million times. We've been so fixated on the Kindle, but actually the iPhone may be more of a dominant force. Watching the popularity of the novels written and read on cell phones in Japan, I suspect that it is only a matter of time before this phenomenon catches on in the U.S.
3) Barnes & Noble and e-publishing. In spring of this year, B&N acquired e-book publisher Fictionwise. So they are also posed to be a major player in e-publishing wars.