How Tablets are Editing the Publishing Industry
A decade ago, the iPod caught the music industry by surprise and changed the way music would be distributed and consumed forever. Now, it’s the publishing industry’s turn, as the iPad, Kindle Fire, and other tablets find their way into the hands of book lovers everywhere.
Forrester Research predicts tablets will become the primary device for millions of people, with sales expected to reach 375 million units by 2016. This growth in tablets is shifting the way we read, and it’s turning the publishing industry on its literary head.
As the industry rewrites its business models to reflect the new realities of production and distribution in a digital world, consumers are welcoming and participating in the changes. After all, the music industry’s reconfiguration turned out quite well for of us, leading to a long tail of artists to discover and share. But what will the publishing revolution offer readers?
More Authors, More Choices
If you’ve browsed Amazon lately, you may have noticed the uptick in books to choose from. The traditional book publishing industry is still cranking out new releases, but a surge of new titles is being published exclusively in digital formats. Without the pricey production and distribution costs of traditional publishing, digital publishing is tearing down economic barriers for many authors.
The growth in self-publishing is no doubt linked to the rise of digital publishing, and both trends are introducing new voices and providing readers with a greater selection of books. These days, you can even find independent titles on the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, holding their own against books written by more established writers.
Another thing you may have noticed is that your dollar can go further in the e-book world. While most bestsellers and new releases still go for the same prices, the selection of free and low-cost e-books is impressive. Sure, some of these freebies are hit-and-miss, but Amazon’s free collection also includes a library’s worth of well-loved classics.
A Brave New Multimedia World
Thanks to the power of the iPad and other tablets, books are going beyond black-and-white to engage readers like never before. Publishers are including multimedia content right alongside text in e-books.
Now you can open a video clip within your e-book to add context to the pages you’re reading. The Booktrack app goes even further by adding a soundtrack to your book, playing music, sound effects, or ambient sound in time with your reading speed.
The addition of multimedia content makes sense–the iPad can do things mere paper could never dream of, so why not take advantage of its capabilities? However, some readers may shun these multimedia extras, preferring to rely on their own imaginations for their reading experience. But others may view them as a chance to go deeper into the content, taking reading to a more interactive and engaging level.
How about you? What are your thoughts on e-reading and publishing? Have you tried any of the multimedia-enhanced books, and what did you think?