Posts Tagged ‘cloud computing’

Books on the cloud

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Over the years, the Internet has grown into a large repository of data and information that can be accessed from anywhere through multiple devices. Today you no longer need to be seated at your personal computer to read your e-mail or book movie tickets. Instead you could be on the beach, at the playing field, at the airport or in another country.

It has been our vision that books, like all digital products should be accessible and available all the time. We have worked hard to build an infrastructure that ensures that we can provide this to our publishing customers, who in turn can ensure that their books reach their readers anywhere and at all times. We watch with confidence as the market takes shape and as this vision of books being on the cloud turns to reality in the months to come.

There are three main reasons why books on the cloud makes sense and I have outlined them below:

Consumer is King

Consumer expectation is to have services available all the time - from Webmail, to Google docs, to salesforce, to Evernote consumer expectation is that they will have their services accessible from anywhere and from any device. Companies that understand this and create this access entry point are guaranteed success. An example for me is a note taking service. I have used several note taking applications; I put notes on my mac, on my blackberry, my iPad too has a few note apps. And then, a few months back I discovered Evernote. This amazing web application, wins over every other note taking software as I can confidently use it knowing that I access all of my notes at anytime from any of my devices, no matter where I am.

Muti-device accessibility
with the speed at which technology is advancing, it is difficult to judge whether our lives are getting simpler or more complicated. Today, we use multiple, multipurpose devices, to stay connected. I have my laptop, my home desktop, my smartphone, my blackberry, my iPad and I work and live my daily life going between all these devices. For convenience sake I EXPECT my applications and software to work interchangeably between all these devices. While I might be an early adopter of technology, a few years down line, this just like e-mail being available everywhere will be a norm for most people.

Follow the Leader(s)

Amazon recently announced that they are launching the web based kindle. With this version, Amazon is now ensuring that their customer can access their eBooks from anywhere and on any device. I use a kindle and I expect to read my books on my iPad, my kindle or on my iPhone. As the market leader, Amazon is establishing a benchmark in the industry by providing this experience; a benchmark that all customers like me will expect to have when using books in the eWorld.

These norms will push publishers to deliver their content on the cloud, needing sophisticated technology to achieve the same. The good news is that there are companies like ours who can provide this infrastructure. This is just the beginning, once books are on the cloud; the opportunities for the publisher are innumerable. Publishers need to realize that this is the future and start implementing their cloud strategy immediately.

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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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