News Publishers and the iPhone

I was speaking at a law school panel discussion a couple of months ago.  The session was being recorded, and the technician was using wireless microphones.  He was picking up interference during sound checks and asked the six or seven law students who were on the panel if they had iPhones, and if they could turn them off if so.  It seemed to me  that  just about every student, and certainly a majority, reached into his or her pocket and pulled out an iPhone.

What made me think of this incident is a Technology story in tomorrow’s Wall Street Journal, “Publishers Nurture Rivals to Kindle,” by Shira Ovide and Geoffrey A. Fowler.  The article talks about a number of efforts by different publishers teaming up with companies such as FirstPaper LLC ., Plastic Logic Ltd., and E Ink Corp.

What especially caught my eye was this paragraph:

Some publishers also are focusing their portable-reading efforts on devices people already use. The new iPhone applications store rolling out this summer will support subscription prices, spurring the Financial Times, Time Inc. and other publishers to tinker with ways to offer subscriptions on the iPhone. Last week, Amazon bought a small startup that makes free e-book reading application Stanza for the iPhone.

I think that they might really be on to something.

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