Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Key publishers unite to create a digital reader

IT will be just weeks before the launch of a new joint venture that will bring together executives from Time Inc., Hearst, Condé Nast and several other major publishers to create a new e-reader for magazines and newspapers.

Rumor now has it that Meredith Corp. is on board, but that could not be confirmed at press time.

"We're trying to legally and appropriately come together to help create digital content aimed at readers who we don't reach with traditional ink-on-paper content," said Condé Nast CEO Charles Townsend, one of the first executives to go on the record about the new enterprise.

Executives said that the companies are not only trying to develop new hardware, but software as well, that is more magazine- and newspaper-friendly than the Amazon Kindle, which renders in black and white and does not replicate four-color ads. They plan to create content compatible with Hewlett-Packard and Sony devices, and the new Apple reader when it is available.

Townsend said it will probably involve the establishment of a "separate entity" to avoid running afoul of antitrust laws.

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