This week has been a fairly big one for electronic books in Canada. There was Amazon.com’s announcement that we’re finally able to order the Kindle in Canada. And, on November 16, Canadian company Indigo Books & Music, which owns Chapters, began publicizing its own e-book service.
Shortcovers is interesting. Unlike other e-book moves by print-book retailers, Indigo is not selling its own device but instead making books available on smartphones, computers, and Sony’s e-book readers. Both Barnes & Noble and Amazon felt the need to create their own reading devices to help them sell electronic books, and it’ll be interesting to see if Indigo’s approach will have as much or more success than its American counterparts.
What is clear is that the next year or two will be vital in deciding whether there is going to be a viable electronic-book market. The major stumbling block may be that we seem to be on the verge of a format war as Amazon’s, Barnes & Noble’s, and Sony’s e-book stores all offer different copy-protected formats which only work with their own devices. Digital music managed to avoid such a war, despite Sony’s continued attempts to launch its own proprietary format, but home video had to endure the battle of Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD.