iTunes fertile new ground: PDFcasting

Summary:iTunes is the master of its domain when it comes to digital music distribution and Apple is even breaking into online iPhone book? of podcasts, music videos, TV show and movies. But there's a virtually untapped new market on the horizon for Apple's venerable music distribution platform: magazines and books.

iTunes is the master of its domain when it comes to digital music distribution and Apple is even breaking into online

iPhone book?
distribution of podcasts, music videos, TV show and movies. But there's a virtually untapped new market on the horizon for Apple's venerable music distribution platform: magazines and books.

Apple has the potential to shake up the printed magazine and book market just like they did with music and now television and movies. It's good news for trees but bad news for some ivory tower-type fat cat print executives.

It works like this: Apple could begin distributing textual content via iTunes in PDF format. The documents could easily be read as text or even spoken to you via Apple's text-to-speech technology. Make magazine has an excellent article on the PDFcasting:

There are a small but growing number of PDFs appearing in iTunes, users can subscribe to podcasts to automatically receive audio and video - and recently - PDFs. At MAKE & CRAFT we have experimented with this from the start - we have also cataloged all the podcasts that send out PDFs we could find here. Eventually I think phones (including the iPhone) will be able to read PDFs via this method, perhaps a future iPod making it possible to easily distribute ebooks to these devices.

How is that bad for traditional magazine publishers, you ask? Granted, they'll still make money by syndicating their content through another distribution channel, arguably at an even higher profit margin because digital is much cheaper than trees, ink and trucks. But if Apple establishes themselves as the leading online distributor of (previously) printed content, then publishers would have to negotiate with Apple who would have all the bargaining power and the ability can set prices appropriately.

Did you know that Apple commands a whopping 55 percent cut for items distributed through their retail stores? 

All Apple needs to do is to release a really slick magazine and book reading interface for iTunes and they have the potential to take away as much as 25 percent of magazine sales in less than five years. Not to mention that the iPhone would make a perfect platform for a full-screen "reader" interface, wouldn't it?

UPDATE: More coverage of PDFcasting can be found on Frank Barnako's Marketwatch blog Barnaby James' Adobe blog

[poll id=30] 

Topics: Apple

About

Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

zdnet_core.socialButton.googleLabel Contact Disclosure

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.