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When I look at the press Sony’s new e-reader is generating (or Sony is generating for it) I think: what ever happened to Gemstar? I’m no blinkered fan of digital reading or portable devices, though I do like the idea of consumer choice. When I first started researching this area the Gemstar e-readers were about to be released in the UK. They never arrived and a couple of years later News Corporation began dismantling Gemstar. The company seems to have continued as an e-book service site (as litigation between Yuen and News Corp has also continued) , but it is certainly not the same new media force that it once was. The closure and investigation of Yuen by the US government (SEC) had some effect on the Gemstar brand.

Now Sony is treading very similar e-reader territory with its new device. There are big improvements with e-ink text, but basically the devices are the same. So why was News Corp concerned with killing off one of the early pioneers of portable e-text reading devices? Did it have something to do with the fact that Gemstar’s founder, Henry Yuen – having the patent for a TV set top decoding device, and having developed it for both cable and satellite – held a big key to reaching mass consumers with his e-book/e-readers? Every time a viewer who had the set top box turned on her/his TV, h/she would have seen Yuen’s/Gemstar’s promotion for e-books.

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4 Comments

  1. Re: use of ebooks in the UK, have you seen this article?
    Electronic books: a survey of users in the UK
    Source: Aslib Proceedings: new information perspectives, Volume 57, Number 6, 2005, pp. 513-522(10)
    http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/mcb/276/2005/00000057/00000006/art00003

  2. The article in Aslib provides little that is conclusive on consumer preferences, and crucially nothing on the nature of discourse engineered by media outlets owned by conglomerates, who commented negatively on e-books throughout a crucial growth phase post the 2001 dot.com market crash, which in itself requires closer analysis. I did a survey of all the records (books, journals, papers, theses etc)  on e-books held by the British Library (Zetoc database – 1998 to 2004) and the conglomerate media discourse grew into a consistent bias against the technology.

  3. Good site!!!

  4. 水着 通販 楽天


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