The impact of Ebook readers


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The way in which we read is changing, as is the way we consume most media. The introduction of Ebook readers and tablets has of course changed the book market. But is it for the better or for the worse? There are of course arguments for both sides, but either way the world and market is becoming more digital. To embrace it is to thrive.

Negative effects

There is of course some negative impact on the sales of printed books with the introduction of new technology. Fewer people are buying print copies, and even with soaring sales of Ebooks there are differences in the way people buy, and the way the book industry makes a profit. For example hardback copies are in decline, meaning a decline in the higher profit margin publishers receive. Though of course there will always be consumers who resist the new technology in favour of the emotive experience of a printed copy. Over time Ebook readers are becoming more authentic though and increasing numbers of traditionalists are embracing the digital future of books.

People also consume books in a different way, whilst multibuys were highly valued by consumers in sales of printed books, the same techniques would not be so profitable when it comes to digital.

Positive changes

The reason for the difference in buyer behavior is that books are now more convenient. It’s far easier to purchase that new title, and it takes just moments whereas previously consumers liked to stockpile either whilst buying online (fewer deliveries and lower cost) or in the shop.

This also means that if a particular author, or book crosses a consumers mind they can buy it there and then. This drastically reduces basket abandonment and will obviously lead to higher sales overall. Impulse buying is a real advantage of our new instant book culture. As we all know, consumers want their purchases delivered yesterday.

The costs of producing digital versions is also far lower, eliminating print costs, packaging and postage means that profit margins are higher. Despite the slightly lower cost to the customer.

Ebook readers and tablets have brought reading back up to date, and in line with the digital age. A development that long term will see the continuation of reading as a popular pastime, as opposed to it being left behind.

The future of books

Leaps in technology now also mean that children are becoming more and more familiar with the Ebook format, especially with the growing popularity of the Amazon Kindle Fire and other color Ebook readers. For the first time children can enjoy picture books in all their glory on a digital device. This will encourage a younger generation to read, and enjoy reading whilst keeping up to date with the latest technology.

Of course there’s the risk of consumers being distracted from their book by all the other apps that are available on these multifunctional devices, but in time publishers will adapt and find new ways to keep customer “in” their app rather than distracted by others.

CES kicks off

The biggest technology and gadget show, CES, just kicked off in Las Vegas, and as usual much of the talk surrounds Apple:

Apple is the only company that consistently gets big buzz out of the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas — without even attending.

This year will be no different.

Connected TVs — TVs that connect to and can access content from the Internet — will be a big part of CES this year. And just about everyone in tech expects Apple at some point to launch such a television — an iTV — that easily consumes and shares with other Apple devices content served from the company’s media-storing iCloud.

Microsoft made news earlier by saying this was the last year they would attend CES/ Why attend if Apple gets all the buzz anyways? Maybe Microsoft should focus on new products instead of protecting its Windows/Office cash cow? Or maybe not . . .

Will Amazon Singles survive the deluge of crap it’s sure to elicit?

Graphite Kindle.

Yesterday Amazon announced a new category of products for its Kindle store. Dubbed Amazon Singles, the new category is aimed at getting consumers to pay for written works that fall somewhere between 10,000 and 30,000 words, or 30 to 90 pages.

There are a few problems with this strategy. First, there’s no market for that kind of content. That sounds like a good thing, but in my mind there is no market for a reason. Works of that length tend to be either too much or too little, rarely just right. More importantly, though, is that they aren’t published anywhere else. Though Amazon wants you to believe that great ideas will surface as a part of the Singles program, the reality is that the fairly small Kindle-using population will have access to these things and only a percentage of those users will actually read what’s inside.

More likely is that Amazon will see a surge of submissions to its digital publications service, submissions that are, as we should expect, too much or too little on a given subject. Plenty of would-be authors have a 60 to 90-page project attracting silverfish on a floor somewhere, but how many of them would we actually want to read through?

The one thing Amazon got right is lower prices. There will be people attracted to those lower prices, but it will be solely for price. Several authors have already set a precedent for free content on the Kindle, a practice that has yielded some decent exposure. Will the same be true for shorter works that come with a fee? I doubt it.

Kindle coming to a Target near you


This Sunday you’ll finally have the option to try a Kindle before you buy. Amazon plans to start selling the Kindle in Target stores beginning June 6th.

The news comes just after Barnes & Noble announced that it would offer a free $50 gift card with the purchase of any new Nook through the month of June. Nook has had a leg up on the Kindle since its release, if only because interested consumers could actually hold one before buying (let’s be honest, though, that’s not the only reason the Nook is better).

The Kindle will run you $259 in-store, just as it would if you bought it on Amazon.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Nook comes with $50 B&N gift certificate


There’s a pretty sweet deal brewing in the ebook world through the end of the June. From now until the end of the month, Barnes & Noble is offering up a $50 gift card with every Nook purchase.

It’s a nice way to get you started on your ebook craze. One of my many complaints about the current state of ebooks is price. I just can’t justify most of the prices without the option to lend/share/resell my books (I realize I sound a bit like Bradbury here). The Nook, though, does offer the option to lend books, which is leaps above the way things were just a year ago. Unfortunately for consumers, B&N prices tend to err on the high side when it comes to digital content. A lot of titles are pushing $20 or falling somewhere between $15 and $20, which means you’ll get three books – max – out of that gift card.

Still, if you were considering one already this might be enough to push you over the edge.

Photo from fOTOGLIF