Condé Nast prepare to take on the eReader market…

November 23, 2009

Last week saw an announcement that posh publishers Condé Nast and Adobe are teaming up to build an online eReader platform specifically for magazines, most notably a digital launch of Wired next year.

Wired UK already had a digital presence on the Ceros platform for at least the first few issues. Now however it doesn’t seem to be continuing or at least I can’t find it. Maybe this is in preparation for next years launch?

I find this whole idea very intriguing. Condé Nast have been quite slow on jumping aboard the digital magazine bandwagon. We had Wired UK and now have a digital GQ which has received a lot of praise despite it being very average. And eReaders? Does anyone really think by the middle of next year eReaders will be capable of displaying rich media interactive magazines? They can’t even do colour yet.

And what of Adobe’s investment? Are they finally fed up of waiting for Apple to release Flash on the iPhone? Do they know more than rumors of Apple’s impending Silverlight competitor, and have decided to beat them to the punch?

Conde Nast have declined to speculate on their cash investment, but could it be linked to Hurst Publishing’s $200 million investment in eInk? And the subsequent development of their own magazine reader…

There are a lot of questions, to which I have bugger all answers. Obviously Condé believe portable technology is nearly good enough to make their dreams a reality. I don’t. Unless of course their dreams are quite dull.

I think eReaders are still 2 years away from being viable portable magazine readers. I think Hurst are the ones to watch and I think a real change could be instigated by the rumored Apple Tablet and whether that supports Flash or their own, new alternative.

One thing I do agree with however and thoroughly support is Condé Nast Chief Executive Chuck Townsend’s comment “We can’t sit back and wait for somebody else to do this.” A step in the right direction can only ever be welcomed and any investment by publishing companies is absolutely necessary. I just wish someone could shed some light on this…