So said Google CEO Eric Schmidt when asked the future of the web. Last week in an interview with Reuters WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrel said that not investing in mobile content was to miss out on a big opportunity. At Pan Macmillan we agree. While reading on mobile devices remains marginal in the UK, it is also, at some level, already ubiquitous, a daily reality for most of us. Mobile holds out the promise of quick, convenient, easy, chunkable, affordable, relevant and portable digital reading. It's strengths are legion and this is why we are pleased to announce a deal with Global Reader (wap.global-reader.com), a mobile content distribution service from MPS Mobile. Over the next few months we plan on releasing over 600 titles through this service, spanning Pan Macmillan imprints from Picador to Boxtree.
From Sara Lloyd (Head of Digital Publishing at Pan): "I am delighted that Macmillan Ltd. has been able to participate in this deal. While the mobile content market is a nascent one here right now, it is growing rapidly elsewhere and it is an area in which we are keen to experiment and learn."
As Sara points out, experiment is key here. No one ultimately knows the directions that mobile reading will take. By entering this agreement we can begin to map the various ways people consume text through mobiles and develop an understanding of how to make it work. We hope to be there from the beginning and to pioneer the concept of reading as being a flexible, integrated activity.
Key to this is the flexibility inherent in Global Reader. It works in over 160 countries but can effortlessly evade territorial troubles because of the national network system. It can be received on any Internet enabled phone meaning there are none of the usual format and software issues that so bedevil the eBook marketplace, while the piracy problematic is circumnavigated.
Other than in Japan mobile reading is still an unknown quantity. What we do know is that the mobile internet is here to stay. Google Android, the next gen iPhone, the other manufacturer's riposte to the iPhone, the Blackberry phenomenon and the first signs of 4G mobile mean that our phones capacity to access the internet, to provide entertainment and other resources, to be more than phones, is guaranteed. Sir Martin is surely right.
Reported in the Bookseller here. Press release attached.