Three Ways of Looking at eBooks at Tools of Change

The sold-out Tools of Change conference opened in New York City today. If you are missing the festivities, we’ll keep you posted. While Twitter usage is dicey at the massive conference, we’ll be covering the event here and on Twitter.

The conference opened with a number of keynote speeches. Enhanced eBook co-founder Peter Collingridge showed off the gorgeous enhanced eBook edition of Nick Cave‘s The Death of Bunny Munro. He acknowledged that some called Enhanced Editions “the emperor’s new clothes” or “the new CD-ROM” but concluded that these eBooks designed for iPhone, tablet computers, or the iPad will last. He explained: “eInk is no longer the compelling vision for the future that it was before.”

Next, Google Inc.’s senior copyright counsel William Patry talked about the rise of “regulatory capitalism.” He explained: “Companies invest in lawyers and lobbyists rather than new plants, new products.” He urged publishers to focus less on litigation and piracy, and more on unique products.

He praised one publisher’s recent innovation: “Recently Macmillan announced new software–give college instructors the ability to edit sentences, paragraphs, chapters, to add things, add links, graphs…It’s a fantastic solution and I hope other people follow it.”

Finally, Ingram Content Group Inc. CEO Skip Prichard (pictured) stressed that “the next generation of kids is different”–a study revealed that kids aged eight-to-eighteen-years-old spend an average of 7.5 hours per day on electronic devices. Nevertheless, he urged publishers to focus on doing a single subject or style well.

“Too many choices can paralyze someone from making a decision,” he concluded.