updated 03:25 pm EDT, Wed October 21, 2009
Developer hints at clandestine deal
A deal signed by a start-up company supports the notion that e-books will be a focus of Apple's forthcoming tablet, claims the Chicago Sun-Times's Andy Ihnatko. The columnist recently spoke with the CEO of LongBox, a business working on a digital storefront for selling the latest editions of comic books. Most comic books sold online come from older archives, limiting their appeal.
The CEO, Rantz Hoseley, says LongBox has formed a partnership with a manufacturer which has received intense coverage of future hardware on numerous technology websites. The manufacturer is also the only one that could give LongBox "a multinational launch with literally millions of installed users," according to Hoseley.
Ihnatko argues that the deal is most likely with Apple, and if so, associated with the iTunes Store and an anticipated tablet. Such a deal would reinforce earlier reports that Apple has been speaking with various publishers and publications about bringing text to the iTunes Store, including Oberlin, McGraw Hill and the New York Times. A separate group of companies -- including Time magazine -- allegedly intends to make their content at least compatible with an Apple tablet, though conflicts with Apple are said to have arisen over business models.
Should Apple enter the e-book realm, it will face significant competition. Amazon is the industry's dominant vendor, thanks to its Kindle handhelds and a corresponding online store. More recently the fray has been joined by Barnes & Noble, which has begun selling the Nook, a device with more advanced hardware including touchscreen controls.