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That e-Book thing Makes a UK Comeback, Sort of

Technology being what it is, an idea deemed unsuccessful a few years ago can suddenly be brand new once more. So it goes with the e-book as Publishing News reports that the Orion Group is to publish its first e-book next year, WEB 2.0 by Paul Carr – most likely as an exclusive with Waterstones.com – and Macmillan has also taken its first digital steps outside the academic world, quietly making around 40 mass-market titles available in e-book form. Carr’s book, published in advance of the paperback, will be available in 2008. Macmillan titles include Meg Cabot‘s PRINCESS DIARIES series.

“We have the digital rights management software in place to block access from territories where we don’t have rights,” said Orion Key Account Manager Mark Stay. “It seemed a good idea to publish it as an e-book first. It seemed the natural way to do it. I don’t think e-books are going to take off until you have an iPod equivalent and you have students using it for all their books. But we want to be ready and I’m sure we’ll learn from the experience.”

The moves come as the industry at large expects an announcement from Amazon concerning its e-book reading device, allegedly called Amazon Kindle, at any moment. Whether the device proves to be a success remains to be seen, but that name isn’t going to help sales, I suspect…

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