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E-books threatened by takeover

6 October 2003

In an interesting coda to last week's story on the progress being made by e-books, some sudden changes of personnel and policy have followed on from a switch in ownership at a key e-book operation. Palmgear, an independent retailer based in Tennessee, acquired the assets of Palm Digital Media last month. Differences of policy and approach immediately became apparent and all three of the senior executives who have built the e-book operation have now left the company.

In the meantime certain titles had disappeared from sale at the Palm Digital online store, apparently because their cover images were judged too explicit. Whole categories such as Erotica and Gay and Lesbian have also vanished as separate listings. The new owners would presumably claim to be exercising their right to judge what will sell, but it's unfortunate that their approach may well stymie the development of the Palm operating system - and the still uncertain future of e-books.

Next it's Frankfurt

In the meantime the publishing world is packing its bags for the Frankfurt Book FairWorld's largest trade fair for books; held annually mid-October at Frankfurt Trade Fair, Germany; First three days exclusively for trade visitors; general public can attend last two., which starts on Wednesday. We will report in more detail next week on this huge international bookfest, which is loved by the aficionados and dreaded by those who suffer their way through the book world's annual October ritual.