At first glance, a report in the Boston Globe on Time Warner Books' e-book strategy (iPublish) looked intriguing to me. It talks about TWB doing more than just adding e-books to their product mix. It talked about adding services for writers and developing a community where peers can critique each other's work and identify solid candiates for distribution by TWB. But I saw that the article was written by someone named "Globe Staff". Then I took notice of an unattributed quoted phrase: ''a fully integrated, end-to-end publishing business and writing community open to the public.'' Anytime someone says "end-to-end" or "fully integrated", question anything else you hear from them (I should know, I'm a consultant, and I use those words all the time).

Time Warner claims to be "re-inventing publishing" with this iPublish gimmick. If you look closely, though, you see that their focus isn't to provide a service to writers or readers. The focus is on streamlining their own "supply chain" - to help them churn through more manuscripts without hiring more readers or editors. There doesn't appear to be any new value provided for writers (back when I wanted to write the great american novel in the late eighties, I remember participating in such an on-line writer community on Compuserve). There doesn't appear to be any new value provided for readers. There doesn't seem to be any there there. I don't think they're going to accomplish what they want with this effort.