Study Stick & MP3s

November 1, 2006

Study StickVia Macmillan chairman Richard Charkin’s blog, an interesting half-way house on the ebook: a USB memory stick that comes pre-loaded with an ebook. The book in question is The Study Skills Handbook by Stella Cottrell, a “best-selling guide to academic success” providing “practical, no-nonsense advice on all aspects of study skills such as writing, revision and exams, critical and analytical thinking, time management and memory skills” and the package also includes a free twelve-month subscription to The Study Space which contains “additional study resources and expert advice” – which sounds exciting, but is in fact a site set up entirely for purchasers of the study stick, so if there’s any information on there not already in the book, it certainly should be. Nevertheless, given the choice between two 512MB sticks, it’s pretty likely that new students will choose this one over any black competition.

What is interesting, as Charkin points out, is that this is one, and possibly the only, example of books leading the music industry: God-awful wail merchants Keane recently announced that they’ll be releasing their next single on a memory stick. Why anyone would buy a GB£3.99 mp3 when they can download one for 99p is a bit of a mystery, but then Keane “fans” will probably swoon over branded electronics. The fools.

In fact, both these tricks seem to miss the point to some extent: if the book or the music industry want to take advantage of plummeting hardware prices (which is what has made both these releases possible) why not sell cut-price mp3 players (like this one), branded and pre-loaded with albums, or better yet, audiobooks? Can you see it?


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