Amazon’s New Patent Enhances E-books

E-books are about to be fully loaded with Amazon’s new Patent #8478662 entitled “Customized electronic books with supplemental content”, originally covered by Wired.

fig-5-227x300Their intent is to turn content from an e-book from being fixed for every reader into a system that has individualized supplemental content by using a match making system between readers and contributors.  Sort of like the extra features on a DVD, but, those features will be dependent on your preferences.

They will have both publisher and contributor supplemental content that will be distributed to the user.  The content that the user receives depends on the relationship between the user and the contributors.  Since by definition this means that different users will receive different content, will this take control of the content away from the author?

The threshold where the reader gets fed content from a contributor is based on a couple of factors:

  • Is the contributor considered an expert related to e-books (how this is determined is vague)
  • Is the contributor connected to the reader through social networking
  • Is the reputation of the contributor higher than the competing contributors
  • Does the interests and preferences of the reader match what the contributor has outlined in their profile
  • Ratings of previous content by the contributor
  • Previous consumption of the contributors writing from both the reader and members in the readers social network

The type of content we plan on seeing these contributors produce are alternative storylines, reference materials and annotations. This is going to be a great tool for fan fiction writers, however, it will force them to really take control of their social presence.

While the matchmaking system will make finding relevant content easier they are still leaps behind what some companies are doing to make reading more interactive.   For instance, Wasabi Productions is making a whole slew of interactive children’s books where the reader actually controls the content and not just gets fed something extra.

Coming up we will probably see an ecosystem of contributing writers in a similar fashion to what Amazon does with their third party sellers’ platform.

If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.

Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.

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