Jenny Levine (The Shifted Librarian) posted a long e-mail from Gemstar announcing the company is phasing out its eBook product line. Effective immediately they stop selling their eBook reader (the handheld device) and on July 17, 2003 all sales of books and periodicals. Product support will continue "for at least the next three years" (until July 16, 2006).
Jenny Levine noted in her post that:
"While I hate to see ebooks decline even further, this was entirely predictable. If you're going to hang your hat on proprietary standards and dedicated devices, you'd better be prepared for the worst. The whole point of ebooks is portability. I knew this genre of ebook technology was dead the minute they locked down their content to the point where I couldn't put it on a new ebook reader that they themselves had manufactured. I completely gave up years ago when they stopped allowing users to load their own content onto the devices.
It's a shame, but the truth is that we can do better. The lesson here is don't get hung up on paranoia and DRM. The Apple iTunes Store can attest to that basic fact."
[via The Shifted Librarian, 02003 06 18]