Gemstar exiting the ebook business

Here’s one from the “Saw it coming since the day they got in the business” department: Gemstar has an announcement on their front page saying they they are exiting the business. They say

for at least the next three years, users will be able to continue to
use their eBook devices and content under the same arrangements as they
do today.
We will also continue to provide the newly released Personal Content
feature available through the web bookstore
( and then click Personal Content) at least
through July 16, 2006.

Yowza. When Gemstart bought the Rocket eBook line from NuvoMedia, I was still working in the publishing division at Intertrust and thus was kind of in this space and paying attention. At the time, NM had something like 50,000 customers, all of whom were fanatic lovers of the platform. It was easy to see why, because it was a good product. We had one in the office for competitive reconnaissance, and everyone that used it liked it. People would put design docs and test plans on it, and review it on the bus or train to and from home. Everyone liked the Rocket

Enter Gemstar. When they bought the line, one of the first things they did was shut down the community aspects, like the newsserver and fora that existed. Then they closed the box so that you couldn’t put your own docs on the devices, or if you did you had to go through them. In every way, they acted like bulls in china shops that completely misunderstood the value of what they had purchased. If anything, my only surprise is that this action was so long in coming. I knew from the first week after they purchased Nuvo that Gemstar wouldn’t make it in this business. I only fear that this will be interpreted as one of those “look, you can’t make a business out of ebooks” stories. Instead, it should be interpreted as one of those “understand what you are buying and pull your head out of your ass or else you will end up subtracting value and ultimately killing this successful business you acquired.”

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Dave Slusher is a blogger, podcaster, computer programmer, author, science fiction fan and father.

One thought on “Gemstar exiting the ebook business”

  1. January 24, 2012

    I am curious as to the Gemstar ebook reader versus the ebookwise reader. I have one; my sister has the other. They are 99% identical but Gemstar has discontinued support. are they any programs in force that I can upgrade the Gemstar or trade it in. Is Ebookwise connected with Gemstar? Let me know if I have any options.

    Thank you.

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