Originally Posted by Andrew H.
A cloud reader with an offline reading option is what we already have now from Amazon and B&N and their associated stores. This is not the future; it is the present. (Aside from the IMO completely pointless ability to read books without downloading them to your device - while streaming makes a lot of sense for movies, where downloading a two hour HD movie can take 2 hours, it makes little sense for books, where downloading an 8 hour book takes 15 seconds).
The real impetus behind the cloud reader isn't technological advancement - it's not as good as Amazon's existing reading apps. The real impetus is simply to avoid Apple's in-app buying rules...because the cloud reader counts as a web app and not a normal app, books bought through it aren't required to pay the 30% toll to Apple.
Well, web apps do have have other advantages from the development aspect- develop once, serve everyone. Native apps have to be written for every platform. Financial Times justifies their choice thusly:
“The FT Web App offers our customers flexibility and freedom of choice with access to our global journalism anytime, anywhere, with a single login or subscription. In a world of increasingly digital complexity we want to keep our service simple, easy to use and efficient to offer our customers the best possible experience of FT journalism.”
But you're right, not paying 30% has a lot to do with it.
Another big advantage for publishers to "streaming"rather than"downloading" books is piracy. Pirating downloaded books, as we are reminded frequently here, is trivially easy-just strip DRM. Its a lots harder technically to pirate a stream. Now on MR, piracy is considered something that , if anything, beneficial to authors and publishers. Authors and publishers don't see it that way and I don't think will ever see it that way. For them its thievery-pure and simple and they want to avoid it all costs. One way is DRM, which is ineffective against piracy ( but effective against casual sharing).DRM, however, is expensive and riles up the techies.
"Streaming" books would be effective against piracy and casual sharing .( It wouldn't stop piracy completely, but it would work much better than DRM.) And there would be no DRM headaches.