In line with my notes about Media Convergence it is a good proof point to see that EA is launching FLIPS, an eBook product with content from Penguin and others on Nintendo DS. According to their release: "FLIPS has been designed to give children of all ages a fun new way to read their favorite books. EA has worked with some of the UK’s leading publishers of children's books and magazines." It makes a lot of sense for the game makers to attack and partner their way into the eBook market.
It looks like it is more than just for reading and they suggest there will be quizes and games. So really what EA is doing is to use the publishers back-catalog and their platforms relationships to claw their way into education market.
One of the most interesting aspects is how kids already associate gaming with being active -- not passive readers. So it is obvious that the content creation challenge will be for a gaming business to deliver quality without trivializing it just to make it snappy. Can the gaming companies really deliver on that challenge? For me it seems unlikely as they have more expertise in shooting/violence than education. So probably this first step is about enabling the channel and then the gaming distributors will be looking for new content that is more on target with eLearning and have stronger web user experience integration.
It still seems that the eBook market is way early. There are some devices, but the compelling reason has not gotten beyond the book reading techno-geeks yet. The eBook market just isn't that big yet (see AAP stats). Consider how enormous iPhone apps vs Kindle reading/flip products. Let's also watch the new eBook readers, some of which will be in color and have sexier screens. Will the Xmas run-up push more users over the fence? I would rather have a better iPhone or a flash-memory video camera than some dorky book reader. Microsoft also potentially will have some big impact in this space as they are most likley to link the device to the content to the web. So you could have some continuity of experience/content management from MSN to Xbox=Home to Mobile. But also like many things with MSFT it seems more like potential to follow hard and long than lead.