Archive for the ‘Readers’ Category

App it!

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

The modern era of mobile Apps is just a few years old but their usage continues to grow at a phenomenal pace. With the boom in eBook technology and increase in the number of mobile devices sold worldwide, more and more readers are consuming content online.  The craze for new age devices like tablets, eBook Readers and hand-held devices has shot up. It has become important for publishers to constantly track the reader behavior and hunt the best ways to reach the target audience for their eBooks. Amidst the various options available in the Mobile market today, publishers have to make a wise choice for making their assets mobile.

eBooks industry is steadily embracing the digital growth and has become one of the dominating categories in the App store market. As more readers are accessing content online, it is becoming increasingly important for publishers to offer their content on variety of platforms. It should not be of surprise, that the publishers are turning to Apps as a possible product option for books moving a step forward. This has led to another movement towards enhanced books, particularly as Apps for hand-held devices including smartphones, iOS & Android devices and other tablets.

Creating and delivering books for devices is an enormous challenge, and different publishers handle aspects differently. Along with the possibility of making the content easily accessible online, the Apps are also being used to make the content rich and engaging. Not only this, the interactivity included in the Apps moves the narrative along in a meaningful manner.

An eBookStore as an App gives publishers the power to make titles available to their readers as an individual App available on the App stores (iTunes, Google Play etc.). With the eBookStore App, publishers can host a branded bookstore on hand-held devices. These branded Apps will be listed by publishers for free download from the App stores. Through the App solution, readers can now download and read their favorite titles on the hand-held devices. The Apps also empower publishers to offer much more enhanced and interactive eBook content to the end users.

Perhaps some the interesting features that make eBookStore as an App actually exciting are:

·It supports an entire catalog of eBooks made available by the publisher

·It helps the publisher to establish direct relationships with the readers

·Enables customization, where the publisher can display their logo and branding colors and choose the functionality that is required in an App

iPublishCentral contributes actively to the iOS and Android based smartphones through cutting-edge Apps for mobile devices. Through our continuous efforts to provide the best-in-class services to our customers, we strive to keep our offerings updated and at par with the changing market dynamics. iPublishCentral offers mobile Apps to publishers to have a fully-fledged mobile strategy, and choose to either offer stand-alone Apps for Android devices, for single titles or an entire collection/catalog of eBooks. We have developed more than hundreds of customized and unique App solutions for many of the leading publishers across the globe. Some of the renowned retail sites that we support are – AAP eBooks, HIMSS eBooks, Thieme Bookshelf, Sesame Street, AAOS eBooks, Artiste Network etc.

Along with facilitating eBookstore as an App, we also offer individual books as an App for Android devices. Having an eBook as an App can help you feature the titles/bestsellers as individual branded Apps and gain the advantage of using a customizable framework to quickly create individual title Apps. It also helps you understand your customers better through opt-in programs that help you establish direct relationships with your readers and enable you to collect anonymous usage statistics. It also helps you get customization, where you can display your logo and branding colors and choose the functionality that you require in your App. The access to administration back-end also helps to manage your App better.

Publishers all over the world are seeing the future of Apps and the value of having an App for their eBookstore, increasing their brand visibility as well as their reach to the end users.  We understand the growing concern among publishers to gear up quickly to meet the mobile content demands of customers. We can easily help you setup your branded App and help you connect with your readers directly. If you haven’t started with your Apps yet, do connect with us at marketing at ipublishcentral dot com. We would like to learn about your business and explore with you how a custom mobile App can help you stay ahead of the curve, and serve your readers better.

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Digital Learning Paths

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Over the years, technology has played a key role in the education scenario and has changed the way students learn. From computers to eBooks, education has drastically advanced over the years. With the integration of current technologies into the curriculum, classrooms are becoming more technologically involved than ever before. The adoption of eBooks over traditional print books is growing consistently. Perhaps the greatest impact of eBooks is the change in perspective. And for some time now, eBooks have been presumed as the future of education. The reasons have always been pretty apparent - they are a lot easier to carry around and can be obtained immediately.

However, the introduction of enhanced eBooks has made the process of learning and knowledge sharing a more interactive and delightful experience. There has been a shift in the consumption patterns of the students and learning has taken a more personalized form. Learning Plans are the latest innovation in the field of personalized learning to provide both instructors and students with an engaging and adaptable digital platform for learning. It is intended to increase learning efficiency and teaching effectiveness.
Since inception, iPublishCentral has undergone frequent, scheduled upgrades and enhancements. As part of our continuous innovation we have introduced iPublishCentral 4.2 that has the ability to deliver the next generation of enhanced eBooks on the iPad. The enhanced eBooks will be integrated with robust Learning Paths to offer an enriched learning experience.


The enhanced eBooks will empower publishers to offer a great interactive learning experience to its readers as they can now access content from the eBooks and create their own Learning Paths at the same time using their iPad. Learning Paths (LP) refer to an effective learning methodology that is intended to equip students with an easy and convenient way to organize content from different sources and create a content sequence that makes learning while reading easy for them. For instance if a student is preparing for exams, it enables them to select the important topics from the eBook, take notes from a lecture and add it as part of the study material for next exam, it also enables students to ask the teacher to mark important topics and paragraphs for a specific exam/certification, they can also share such study material with their classmates and friends.
In a nutshell, Learning Paths provide highly interactive learning experience to the students. Being equipped with detailed features, it enables student to:

  • add a selection (of text) from a textbook, a topic, or a chapter itself to a LP
  • add media and ancillary from the book to a LP
  • add custom notes, images, video, web link to a LP
  • edit the order of contents inside a LP
  • add a Table of Content for a LP
  • share a LP with anyone


Well, the scope of Learning Paths is significant for publishers, authors as well as end users and it will be interesting to watch how it is adopted. The team at iPublishCentral is excited and geared up to help publishers incorporate this interesting emerging trend. We look forward to the changes this will unravel over the next few months.


Please email your thoughts and suggestions to info@ipublishcentral.com

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To DRM or Not to?

Thursday, July 5th, 2012

Two recent announcements one by J. K. Rowling and other by Tor/Forge has put Digital Rights Management (DRM) back on the discussion table in the publishing world. What is interesting is that two completely different types of “publishers” have taken the same decision – sell their eBooks DRM-free. J. K. Rowling represents the new breed of “self-publishers”, authors who want to sell directly to their readers. Tor/Forge books is a science fiction/fantasy imprint of Macmillan, a big six publisher.

While there may be many underlying reasons for the decision, it addresses the key concerns of legitimate buyers on “fair use”. Consumption of eBooks over various devices (especially mobile devices) like tablets, smartphones and dedicated e-reader is increasing. Readers typically own multiple devices (not necessarily from the same manufacturer) and want to be able to consume the eBook on a device of their choice. Additionally, readers who buy new devices will want to access their previously purchased eBooks on these new devices.

Other publishers will closely watch the “success” of these moves in terms of impact on revenues and piracy before deciding to go DRM-free.

One of the key pain areas that we have heard from publishers who use industry standard DMR solutions is the costs associated with DRM. This is an acute problem for publishers who sell to the institutional market (like schools, public libraries) as there is a cost associated with each “fulfilment”. Large publishers are able to negotiate discounted fees, but this is not the case with smaller publishers. Over time these costs can add up and turn out to be prohibitive. Will such publishers be tempted to go DRM free? What if they are offered a DRM solution that does not have charges associated with each fulfilment?

A DRM free world is likely to throw up several interesting opportunities. For example, readers are likely to migrate from using reading applications/apps provided by the publisher to third party reading apps that provide a better reading experience. These reading apps are also likely to support a variety of file formats like (PDF, EPUB, MOBI). (Like video players that support a variety of formats today). Additionally, readers will want reading apps provided by publishers to support exporting of notes.

The team at iPublishCentral tries to track emerging trends in the industry and align the iPublishCentral roadmap to help publishers deal with these emerging trends. Do you have any thoughts on the impact of DRM-free eBook sales? Please share your thoughts with us - feedback at ipublishcentral dot com or pandith.jp at impelsys dot com.

This article was featured in the iPublishCentral Newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletters, write to us at marketing@impelsys.com

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Amazon: Changing the publishing landscape

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Technology has penetrated  every industry and publishing industry is no exception. The sprawling giant ‘Amazon’ has tremendously expanded its ambitions this year and is now at a verge of adding some more to its kitty. Throughout the year, Amazon was in the news for various reasons like - mergers & acquisitions - and biggest among them was the release of the Kindle Fire.

Amazon was initially known only for selling ‘stuff’ and has now spread completely into eBook business by establishing its own hardware to promote the books. Amazon started 2011 with a bang, when Amazon.com sold more Kindle books than paperback books and towards the end of the year made its presence felt by aggressively quoting a lesser price for the Kindle Fire than the iPad 2. Here are some facts:

January: Amazon launched Amazon deals, a free iPhone App that provides an overview of daily deals to the customers.

March: Amazon joined the online music streaming business with Cloud Player, a music player that allows anyone to upload the music to Amazon’s servers and stream them on the web, an Android device, iPad or a Kindle Fire.

April: Amazon launched the Android equivalent of Apple’s App Store to improve the Google’s Android market shopping experience, the go-to store to purchase Android apps with unique test drive feature. Read more: http://mashable.com/2011/03/22/amazon-appstore-android/

May: Amazon hits the runway with MyHabit.com, a membership-only shopping site that offers sales up to 60% off clothes and accessories for men, women and children. The site also offers discounts on toys, beauty and home products. It was in this month that Amazon added a new member to the Kindle family: a 6-inch Kindle 3G. Only four years old, Amazon’s Kindle eBooks outsold physical books purchased on Amazon. For every 100 print books sold, 105 Kindle eBooks were sold. Amazon launched the Mac Downloads Store, a direct competitor to Apple’s Mac App Store.

June: In another European deal, Amazon acquired The Book Depository, a UK-based online bookseller that offers more than 6 million book titles and free delivery worldwide. Read more:http://mashable.com/2011/07/04/amazon-aquisition/

September: Details about Amazon’s Android-based tablet emerged ahead of Amazon’s press event.

November: Amazon’s Kindle eReaders and tablets sold exceptionally well on Black Friday, especially the Kindle Fire, which was the bestselling product on Amazon.com that day. Read more:http://mashable.com/2011/11/28/black-friday-kindle/

December: Amazon Publishing Acquires Children’s Imprint Marshall Cavendish. Read more:http://www.mediabistro.com/galleycat/amazon-buys-450-marshall-cavendish-childrens-books_b43471

With the publishing industry evolving ever so dynamically, Amazon seems to be seizing the opportunity to captivate as big a market as it can through diversified strategies and plans. Now the big question here is, will the publishers and literary agents be able to withstand such a change and challenge?

With Amazon having gained the experience and power to develop, publish and distribute its own books, it will be interesting to study its relevance in the publishing circle.  Amazon has changed the landscape of the publishing industry totally by having its say in all spheres and it is clear now that we have entered a “dynamic world of publishing”.

This article was featured in the iPublishCentral Newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletters, write to us at marketing@impelsys.com

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Understanding the ‘Readership’ paradigm

Friday, February 17th, 2012

To know  your readers better, it’s important to peep into the readership paradigm and understand the dynamics of a reader’s mind. We have tried to collate certain attributes that largely explain how important it is to know your readers before formulating a strategy to even reach them.

  • Understanding the reader’s experience

To better formulate your plans, the best way to start is to understand the reader behavior patterns and stay updated of the key industry trends.  It is absolutely essential to buy books from different retailers, download them on to your device and read them. This is a relatively a small monetary investment compared to the insights you will receive in doing so.

  • Adapt the technology that readers are using

To best reflect the technology adoption in your digital publishing assets, the first step is to understand the technology that the readers are skewed towards. It’s important to understand the metrics of how and where most of the readers are reading their books today. The winning side is the one that will embrace the new technologies, and figure out how to leverage them into revenue.

  • Track your readers online

To better understand what your readers are reading and what topics they are following, it’s important to track them where they are – Online. Publisher analytics has gained momentum. Your readers are more than Google Analytics’ “Unique Visitors” and “Page Views.” They are people with unique backgrounds, needs, and wants. They have problems for which they visit your blog to get solutions. Many of your readers are like-minded individuals having similar needs and desires. However, the keyword here is “individual”. Each reader will view your content within their own context. To be successful, you need to be aware not just of needs and wants but of context so you offer the right solutions for your readers.

Become a Reader

The best way to understand you readers is to become one!

Not knowing much about your readers brings extreme struggle to provide relevant and valuable content and information, which will eventually translate into inability to build readership, authority and generate income.  The best way to interpret your readers and understand their reading habits more clearly, still remains to be in becoming a reader of your own content.

This article was featured in the iPublishCentral Newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletters, write to us at marketing@impelsys.com

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eReaders and Tablet Markets – The Story so far.

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Commercial tablets and readers have taken the market by storm. In the tablet category, the iPad certainly set the pace for what’s shaping up to be a hot sector. Electronics manufacturers have accordingly sought to capitalize on this trend by creating a range of new devices to access these media, which in some cases have further influenced and altered consumer behavior. Here’s a quick snapshot of some of the most exciting trends of the eReaders and Tablet market.

Demand for e-book readers remained strong in first-quarter 2011, with global shipments soaring 236% on year to 4.8 million units. Global e-book reader shipments will reach 27 million units in 2011. Among the brand-name vendors, Amazon will continue to be the market leader with 60% share of global shipments in 2011. Barnes & Noble may hold on to second place, but its gap with third-place Sony will narrow. In just a couple of years e-book readers have turned from devices for the big pockets to machines almost anyone can afford, with recent price cuts having led to a strong competition in the $149 to $199 category.

North America will remain the biggest market for e-book readers, accounting for 72% of global shipments, but growth in the area is slowing down. E-book reader vendors are now aggressively expanding their presence in the Europe market, which is registering higher-than-average growths. Monotone e-book readers will remain the mainstream in the next three years, during which no breakthrough in developing color devices can be expected. Global e-book reader shipments will reach 63 million units by 2014.

Market Dimensions

The starting of 2011 saw a sale upsurge of estimated 10.3 million tablets and 6.7 million eReaders. As far as eReaders are concerned, the Kindle remains the most popular unit, followed by Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

Strong sales of Amazon’s Kindle, which was refreshed in August and priced more aggressively, as well as significant gains from competitors such as Pan digital, Barnes & Noble, Hanvon, and Sony among others, contributed to market growth. Apparently, people whose households net is $150,000 annually or more are more than twice as likely to report owning a tablet or eReaders.

Competitive Landscape

The competitive landscape has more or less stayed intact the way it was for FY 2010, with Apple taking a clear lead in the Tablet market. Samsung, Motorola, and perhaps now Sony all have entrants in the field, and time will tell whether the android-based devices will offer Apple as much competition on the tablet front as on the mobile phone front.

For single-use, high-price devices such as the higher-end eReaders, growth is certain to slow in the coming years as tablets and the larger smartphone gain popularity as reading devices, as well.

The Online-Reading Pie

In addition to facing competition from these traditional print publications and tablets with eReading capabilities, eReaders must also contend with PCs and smart phones, which are also popular among respondents for ebook-reading capabilities.

E-Readers and E-commerce

Shopping via tablets has become so popular that a new term has been coined — “t-commerce.” While only 9% of online shoppers own tablets, their behavior is encouraging for retailers. Consumers tend to spend more time on the Web after buying a tablet, and nearly half shop from the device, according to a survey of more than 2,300 consumers.

Tablet owners tend to be wealthier, which gives retailers a self-selected audience of their best customers. They may also be encouraged to spend by less tangible attributes: large touch screens that draw users into the content, and a portability that helps users get more comfortable than when surfing on PCs. While some eCommerce professionals may want to lump together tablets and smart phones as “mobile devices”, the data above on usage could revise this train of thought. Retailers may want to look at their industry and their own web analytics to determine what plan of action is necessary for portable devices.

Source:  CBS Interactive, IDC, Nielsen, Forrester

This article was featured in the iPublishCentral Newsletter. To subscribe to our newsletters, write to us at marketing@impelsys.com

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ePub3 and HTML5 – Enhancing the eReader compatibility

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

There are many reasons that eReaders and eBooks are changing the publishing landscape. As with any technology, early generations of software and hardware have led to continuous improvement over time. The technology behind eBooks is no exception.

The new ePub3 standard reveals the scope of ePub in the current technology trend with a move to HTML5 based content and key emerging technological advancements in all means. The ePub3 with HTML5 support provides rich media experience & interactivity, layout enhancements, global languages support and accessibility improvements.  So we hope to see all the features like video & audio embedding, metadata, linking, navigation, multimedia, font, scripting, text to speech, dynamic layouts, semantic mark-ups, etc., in an ePub with help of ePub3. This also provides opportunities for application developers to create eBook readers for web and mobile platforms.

While enthusiasts were analysing and trying to understand the specifications, I had an opportunity to work on a sample for the ePub3.  As a team, we have been working on all of the ePub3 features currently supported by the iPad. Below are the listings of the samples we have created using the latest ePub3 standards.

Video: Video can now be embedded in eBooks. Video spec: H.264 (a way of encoding video that’s free to use, but not public domain) is video standard right now, but there is a possibility of open standard by end of this year, that may change to another encoding which might be WebM, which is royalty-free.

Audio: Audio passages can also be embedded in eBooks, and ePub3 is better at adopting the current DAISY accessibility standards, making eReaders more useful to visually challenged users.

Interactivity:  An interactive ePub can act more like an app than a document, and can include features like pop-ups for images, tables, bibliography references, etc activated by clicking on words in the text.

Global language support:  Includes vertical writing, and writing from left-to-right and right-to-left.

Multi-column layout: A feature that will greatly enhance cookbooks and coffee table books.

Hyphenation: This helps page formatting, particularly in justified text, and avoids very tight or very loose lines of text.

Embedded fonts: This provides lot of opportunities to use any fonts in an eBook.

Improved accessibility:  The new NAV formats supersedes the NCX format (ePub2) by providing enhanced navigation within the eBook, improving the reader’s ability to jump to specific chapters, pages, and passages.

MathML: A mathematical specification that provides greater opportunities for textbook publishers to convert and publish texts as eBooks and also provides 100% searchable content which was not there in ePub2 where all maths are coded as images.

Compatibility

ePub3 readers will be backward compatible, meaning they will be able to read eBooks created in the ePub2 format. But ePub2 readers will not be able to read ePub3 documents, as there are structural, non-compatible changes between ePub2 and ePub3.

Would like to hear your thoughts on this emerging standard and your experiences that made things work better with ePub3. Please do share your experiences by writing to us at info@ipublishcentral.com

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The iPad and publishing

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

source: www.businessinsider.com

The iPad hit homes in the beginning of April and users have been going berserk playing with their sleek and shiny new toy. One single beautiful looking machine, gives them a host of entertainment options, starting from online web surfing, gaming, and most importantly reading and information consumption.

With the launch of the iPad, reader expectations seem to have skyrocketed. Readers now expect so much more from a book than just plain text. The iPad changes the way in which content is created and consumed owing to its video streaming, audio and interactive media capabilities.

The publishing industry for one is abuzz with predictions, hopes and, ambiguity. Many wonder, if the iPad will indeed define the future of books. Will print books eventually die out? Will publishing houses perish or evolve, the questions are endless and the predications aboundless.

Opinions are varied. Quoting Mr. Ulrich Hegge, Managing Director Burda Media Innovation Lab,

“We have to take readers’ view and expectations in regard to start telling stories in a way that suits the new possibilities. We have that potential and we already proved that in the printed publications department. We believe a new era has begun.”

Jim McGregor, who is Chief Technology Strategist at In-Stat believes the significance of the iPad for publishers will be much smaller than some seem to hope for:

“Although the iPad and other tablets are being positioned as next generation e-readers, their value really extends to more multimedia rich content. This may be a boost for audio and video, but it is unlikely to change the fate of the publishing industry which has to adapt to a digital world driven by the Internet. Devices like the iPad will probably accelerate the move to digital content, especially in areas that are traditionally tied to printed material, such as education.”

While both industry leaders question the extent of impact that the iPad will have on publishing they are the first to admit that the iPad cannot be ignored. They both endorse that publishers have recognized the need to adapt to the digitally skewed changes engulfing the industry. Many publishers are migrating towards the ePub format, thus making their content iPad ready. Yet, despite uncertainties, the iPad does open up a market of over 10 million users that publishers can target opening up a whole new business model that could be centered on selling through apps.

Publishers such as Condé Nast announced they were working on an iPad version even before the device became official, and according to a leaked memo will have GQ ready for the April launch, followed soon afterwards by Wired, Vanity Fair, New York and Glamour magazines.

Some publishers have even released demos of their iPad versions already, including the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, while Children’s novels such as the Toy Story and Alice in Wonderland are already on the iPad. In approximately two months, school textbooks will be available on the iPad in the form of highly interactive applications. TSTC Publishing is adding the first e-books to its inventory.

Yet questions still loom, will the iPad really transform publishing – boosting circulation numbers and opening up new audiences? Will selling content through apps and the iPad actually bring in additional revenues from end users?

With over 700000 introductory versions of the iPad already in homes, and thousands of people still awaiting their orders, one thing is clear - the iPad is here to stay. The rising number of apps also suggests that users are enthusiastic about milking this device to its full potential. iPad competitors such as Germany’s WePad, the Google tablet and more such devices, prove that this trend is here to stay, and publishers now have unlimited possibilities when it comes to creating interactive content.

While a huge problem is the investment required to optimize this platform, the sooner publishers realize the need to convert to ePub, (which is emerging as the industry standard, and whose open source features make it the ideal platform, accepted by a wide range of devices) the more return on investment in the long run. With the popularizing and acceptance of the value of e-based consumption of content, it is likely that content publishers will actually leverage interactive media to the fullest. Dynamic links and multimedia content will readily be embraced and supported by those that provide content.

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Your eBook: No longer just a product !

Saturday, April 3rd, 2010

The electronic age has changed the way we explore, access and consume information. Today much of our information needs are fulfilled through the internet, for absolutely no cost. Much of professional and scholarly research is done through data collected from the internet, and through networking with other researchers. Yet, many argue about the perils of free content, as well the authenticity of content. The magnitude of free information, even throws up the argument of the need for books, or data that has a price tag attached to it. What is it about some content, that you can charge a premium for it? How do you get people to buy content rather than rely on free information sought through the internet?

Readers are given the option to search within the book and ensure that they are getting exactly what they are paying for. Up-to date research reports and full volumes of encyclopedias usually only allow for free book previews, through online readers. Access of an entire volume costs the reader, and if the preview shows content that is worthy, readers are indeed wiling to pay a price for it. The new system that is emerging is of “mixed bundling” - offering a product and its components in different permutations to satisfy different consumer needs. In a manner of speaking, your content is no longer just a product, i.e. a book. Today readers are demanding that there are no restrictions on structure and in a way turning your traditional ‘product’ into a service that requires more than just the physical version. Consumers are demanding specifics, and well, today they are getting what they want. Today, content providers give their readers content in the way they wish to consume it. They give them the option of buying part of the content, add supplementary material to the content, allow them to rent content and many more such options. Thus, to some extent curbing the attitude of, “why should I have to pay for something I don’t need/can get free”.

In a way, content, especially e-content, is looked on as an experience. Today, readers want to envision rather than imagine, they want to participate rather than watch. eBooks give them this experience. You can read an ebook, add notes, share notes with friends, discuss with experts, watch videos, take tests, play games, listen to audio and more, with the added advantage of consuming this content, anywhere and at anytime.

The trend of cloud computing, or saving of data on the cloud/internet, enables portability of content from device to device which represents the future of media and content consumption. The device market is constantly evolving, due to changing consumer preferences and the developing electronics landscape. Device manufacturers, marketers and publishers alike are challenged to make content available where, when and how their readers want to consume it—and that is anywhere, anytime and on any device. Multiple devices, numerous access modes and shifting consumer preferences mean, marketers and content owners cannot afford to choose any one single method. Until formats and device platforms get more established, multi-mode, multi-device support remains a must. So the overall expectations have increased and is more about convenience of accessing the content, choice of formats and price. In a nutshell, it’s about enhanced reading experience, and accessibility to needed resources.

The question of revenues for publishing is on top of everyone’s mind. In studying industry trends, and knowing that readers are not willing to pay for content that they can already access for free, the problem needs to be looked at from another angle. The real opportunity could lie in what we have been calling ‘the reading experience’. Publishers need to take on the role of service providers rather than sellers of a product. Real opportunity could lie in options such as is in selling access to repositories of content or in a constant stream of value adds, such as updates, buying in chunks, renting, links, audio, video, networking, gaming, sharing, participation and engagement and giving readers what they are looking for.

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TOC 2010. Everything I learned.

Sunday, March 28th, 2010

It’s been a month since the conference, and I still haven’t gotten over the whole “TOC experience”. My mind keeps going back to all the discussions we had, and I find myself constantly pondering over opinions expressed, predictions made and in general, visualizing what the outlook of our industry might look like few years down the line.

Having worked closely with the publishing industry for over a decade, it was both inspiring and exciting to see publishers from all around the world come together with the realization that change is here to stay. Encouraging, was to note how earnest publishers were towards understanding this change and the focus they have towards preparing themselves for the future.

In this blog, I would like to share a few anecdotes, and what I thought was especially interesting and defining for the future of our industry.  For the past ten years we have studied the dynamics of the publishing industry, its trends, changing reader habits and one session that struck an instant chord with me was by Peter Collingridge from Enhanced Editions. He describes the work he does as “tailor-making books for the iPhone, and the challenge that they set, on how to translate a book to a device in a way that creates a valuable new user experience and adds to the content. He highlighted the fact that the app was being offered as an ‘optional experience’. To quote him, “You don’t have to listen, or read and listen, or watch. Its how the reader wants it to be. We can build stuff around it and online – but the reading should be left between the reader and the content. The app is all about engagement with the content.” The key to their success here is their understanding and empathy towards the reader. His insight into reader behavior is an important lesson for all of us in the content business. The sure win sales strategy is to give your readers the content that they want.

Over the past couple of years we have seen the lightening quick pace at which the industry is evolving and this experience has helped us build innovative solutions such as reporting and data analytical tools that are helping publishers the world over take their publishing to a whole new level. As Tim O’Reilly mentioned in his session, today publishers have a better understanding of their markets with the help of data analytical tools and are building direct relationships with their readers. These tools enable publishers to put reader habits under the microscope, and use this information to tailor make content to suit the readers need. This and the ease through which they can convert their content into digital formats and deliver it through custom built platforms enable them to cash in on the opportunities that the web offers.

This year at TOC, I too had the opportunity to share my thoughts on ‘The new dynamics of publishing’ at the keynote and at a focused session on the ‘Next generation of ebooks’. Publishing has evolved, and now more than ever publishers need to focus on their core area of expertise - Content. Yet, understanding and exploiting the advancements in technology and reader demand and consumption habits could very well be the key factor that defines success. My belief is that in choosing the right strategic partners, publishers can remain focused on their core business, while still being able to implement the right technological strategies that keeps them at the top of their game.

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