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Apple’s iPad dominated the news last week. It was impossible to avoid the reviews that were all over the Internet, mostly by people who hadn’t even laid hands on the device.

It is incredibly difficult to offer a real review without firsthand experience with a product.

Hopefully, when the iPad actually becomes available, firsthand reviews will give consumers a clearer picture of the capabilities and practical uses of the device. For audiobook lovers, it would seem that the capabilities will be equal to the iPod, as the iTunes media management system will be employed as the main interface for all media.

In other news, Amazon had pulled all books, in all formats, from Macmillan Publishing. The break was reportedly due to Macmillan’s demands that Amazon raise the pricing of some of Macmillan’s eBooks from $9.99 to around $15 USD. The Macmillan group includes Farrar, Straus & Giroux, St. Martin’s Press, and Henry Holt.

Apple iPad 3This means that books like the currently popular Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel can only be purchased from third party sellers through Amazon. This includes audio CD versions. The digital audio downloads are still available through Amazon’s Audible.com.

Macmillan is one of the publishers who recently reached an agreement with Apple to provide books for the iBookstore for the iPad. Apple has reportedly agreed to allow publishers to offer prices between $13-15 USD for fiction and non-fiction titles. At present, it is unclear whether publishers can legally withhold books from one seller and offer them to another.

**Update: As of 2:22PST on January 31, 2010, Amazon announced that they will have to capitulate to Macmillan’s demands so that readers will continue to be able to purchase the content for their Kindle devices. Announcement Macmillan E-books.

Speaking of the iPad, I read an interesting perspective on ZDNet UK this week. Andrew Donoghue presented the idea that the whole discussion of whether the iPad would compete with other eBook readers was essentially ridiculous. Why read an eBook when you have a device capable of playing an audiobook?

The perfectly portable audiobook can be enjoyed while doing other activities. Donoghue believes that eBooks will appeal to a niche audience, but audiobooks will continue to grow in popularity and eventually be the real future of publishing. What do you think?

The 100 Stories for Haiti project is well underway with hundreds of submissions. Editors are currently at work choosing the 100 stories for inclusion, which will be available via eBook and paperback. We are still seeking a publisher willing to produce an audiobook version. All proceeds from the sale of the books will go to Red Cross relief efforts in Haiti. I will keep you updated on availability. If you wish to contact me regarding the project, please leave a comment!

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