Gen Y and eBooks

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Gen Y and eBooks


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Which is the preferred option for reading – printed books or ebooks? This has been a topic of much debate in recent times. Today, readers are not limited to buying hard copies of printed books from bookstores. Books are available to them at a single click. Acquiring a copy of a book and reading it have become a lot easier thanks to the numerous reading devices available today – desktops, laptops, tablets, phones, eReading devices, etc. eBooks have transformed the way we access books. For years, people had to go to bookstores to find the books they wanted to read, but today you can get hold of a book that you want to read from your desk or, literally, from where ever you are. This is a huge transformation, and although research suggests that overexposure to LCD screens can affect sleep cycles and be a strain to the eye, there is no doubt that eBooks are becoming more popular by the day and that Gen Y readers prefer ebooks to printed book, in the process resulting in the eBook revolution that we are witnessing today.

While the choice of printed books versus ebooks is ultimately the reader’s preference, it is obvious that Gen Y consumers are more inclined towards reading ebooks. A study revealed that in 2012 nearly a quarter of the total publishing revenue came from ebook sales and that Gen Y buyers contributed more than 40% of the total revenues. While there is a majority of people who still prefer printed books to ebooks, clearly Gen Y readers are moving towards ebooks.

Today, it is not an uncommon sight to see people carrying eReaders instead of newspapers or books while commuting. The reason is simple; people don’t want to carry bulky books everywhere they go. Instead, the eReaders provide them many advantages, namely, they are light and only a few square inches in size making them easy to carry, numerous books can be stored on them or purchased from the Internet on the fly, to name a few. With ebooks “out-of-print” is never a problem. Using these eReaders, ebooks can be read while commuting and even in dim lighting or in the dark. eReaders also come in multiple languages and with the translation option. So people don’t need to go looking for a translated copy. Again, all these options are available with just a few clicks. For these reasons, ebooks have become the number one choice today. With new devices hitting the market every day, things have only become easy for consumers, as they are now able to make full use of the various features offered by these devices in terms of convenience, varying display sizes and increasing storage capacities.

While it is too early to write off printed books, it is but a matter of time before the transformation to ebooks is complete.

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From what I saw at the recent Frankfurt Book fair 2013, it was quite evident HTML5 is now the platform that lingers in the minds of many in the publishing industry. The fair included presentations and discussions specific to HTML5 and related topics and many exhibitors showcased their HTML5 tools that instantly created interest among the visitors. There are many articles about HTML5 and its uses and this is just one more.

HTML5 may be the answer to the ever-increasing demands of rendering content in the most dynamic and interactive format possible on the wide range of display devices (tablets, androids, Smartphones, etc.) that are available today. The inclusion of many new syntactic features such as video, audio and canvas elements, as well as the integration of scalable vector graphics content (which replaces the uses of generic object tags) and MathML for mathematical formulas, have made it easy to include and handle multimedia and graphical content on the network without having to resort to proprietary plug-ins and APIs. Other new elements and attributes that are designed to enrich the semantic content of documents have been introduced; some components have been changed, redefined or standardized, while other redundant elements and attributes have been removed. The required processing for invalid documents has been defined in some detail so that syntax errors will be treated uniformly by all conforming browsers and other user agents. These distinct features are gaining attention among the experts and the obvious was seen at the fair.

With app and website developers embracing HTML5 and increasing e-content development, publishers are turning towards HTML5. Also, as major platforms like Apple and Androids do not allow the use of any add-ons such as Flash or Silverlight, HTML5 is the answer to most ePublishing needs as it allows incorporation of multimedia content on the page itself.

The adoption of HTML5 has helped ePUB3, which is built upon a foundation of HTML5 and CSS3 in gaining momentum in the publishing industry. It looks like many epublishers are developing digital-first content for e-reading to avoid the need for conversion. HTML5 is the best suited option for producing digital-first content.

With the world growing younger, no surprises that HTML5 is getting hotter by the day… (more…)