In the States, five big publishing companies have announced they are to team-up on a venture that will see open standards created for the new era of digital publishing on portable digital devices, such as the as-yet unconfirmed Apple iTablet that's got them all so very excited.

Conde Nast, Hearst, Meredith, News Corp and Time Inc are working together on a "new digital storefront and related technology that will allow consumers to enjoy their favourite media content on portable digital devices".

The goals of the initiative are said to be to create "a highly featured common reading application capable of rendering the distinctive look and feel of each publication; a robust publishing platform optimized for multiple devices, operating systems and screen sizes; a consumer storefront offering an extensive selection of reading options; and a rich array of innovative advertising opportunities".

Other publishing companies have been invited to join up and the content is said to be designed to be read across all digital device platforms, including laptops, smartphones and ebook readers, and will be offered DRM-free, for transferring to different devices.

In addition to the "new" magazine and newspaper reading experiences promised, content may eventually include books, comic books, blogs and other media, says the group. We will keep you posted.