eBooks, the new-age success concept!

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The joy a reader derives from flipping the pages physically and unveiling the next suspense of the fiction from a hardcover book is delightful. However, the ease and ecstasy eBooks offer is divine! Though, both print and eBook offer different scales of reading experience, researchers have been keen in understanding the exact factors like effectiveness, audience reach, and ease of distribution, popularity and reader’s preference. Various surveys conclude that most factors are in favor of the new-age eBook concept.

eBook and the Profit equation:

Perfection in the preparation and promotion ensures the most important step, profit. Preparation of an eBook from concept to creation demands thought, research and effort. The process can be draining but with proper initial planning and thorough market research, eBooks can be extremely lucrative. Distribution and promotional aspects also matter when it comes making decent earning. Initial planning involves deciding on topic, target audience, eBook feasibility, and concept originality, budget and cover design. It is also important that your eBook offers value for the money invested by the reader.

Promotion of the final product is as crucial as creating it. Undoubtedly, the magic word for successful promotion is ‘Internet’. Publishers could potentially use this technology to supplement eBooks through links in social media or any alluring information relevant to the story. A vital tool for promotion is kindling the excitation among the buyers. The readers become promoters themselves by sharing links and posting information relevant to eBook, thereby increasing its reach. Regardless of in-house advertising, internet promotion must also be strongly considered for a healthy future of digital publishing.

eBook reads the reader:

Putting books online will also change how we find and talk about them. Reading has largely been a solitary and private act for many years. It is an intimate exchange between the reader and the words on the page. However, with the rise of digital books, the activity is now measurable and quasi-public. eBook helps publishers to understand the reader patterns like the time he spent reading a specific page, skipped introduction or skipped pages, pages he shared, pages he re-read, terms used to search for a particular book, etc. all at an instant.

With such benefits, even the major players in e-book publishing like Amazon, Apple and Google are showing interest in acquiring a larger market by creating eBook apps for tablets like the iPad, Kindle Fire and Nook.

The Era of eBooks:

Publishing has been lagging far behind than rest of the entertainment industry, for reader review is the only one tool of analyzing the success. Retailers and publishers were least aware on how people engage with books, and their likes or dislikes about it. It was barely a postmortem measure of success and couldn’t shape or predict a hit. However, the real-time success figure of the emerging eBook concept is ensuring that booksellers, publishers and tech companies change their insight completely towards digital publishing.

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With increasing obsession for flawless high-definition audio / video content production, and delivery, HTML5 is serving as the most appropriate tool to developers that caters to the needs of the developers. Objective research and adjustments on HTML4 by W3C and WHATWG have resulted in the best ever core technology markup language – HTML5! A report released as early as on 30 September 2011 confirmed that 34 of the world’s top 100 Web sites were using HTML5 and 153 of the Fortune 500 US companies had already implemented HTML5 on their corporate websites targeting bigger earnings.

What’s the catch?

The sophisticated yet developer-friendly technology supports existing content, degrades gracefully and houses a secured design. It not only offers DOM consistency but also handles error and aids in solving real-time problems. It prioritizes constituencies, exhibits a well-defined behavior, supports world languages and is media-independent. Stuffed in with most luxurious features a developer looks out for, HTML 5 is definitely a revolution.

Benefits reaped?

This latest iteration of HTML addresses modern needs and expectations of websites with better semantic markup, information about content it describes, equal support to both desktop and mobile devices, etc. Web developers and browser vendors are already agreeing that it is becoming the new standard.

The fact that requires very minimal development time; it makes the whole process faster, cheaper and rewarding for developers themselves. With the CSS3 support, it helps in better visual styling and animation effects. It lets you do things that were previously impossible like user experience without any additional browser plugins, fast uploading and downloading of web applications, mobile-friendly nature, advanced JavaScript API support, etc.

Who are using it?

Companies in all sectors are using HTML5 to offer cross-platform, multi-screen experiences to digital audiences. Many prodigious publishers, including New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Elle, The Oprah Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Popular mechanics have rebuilt their websites using HTML5. Video streaming websites like Netflix, YouTube and Vimeo are already distributing content through an HTML5 interface.

As a dominant underlying technology for online video and television, popular channels like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central are using HTML5. Amazon opened up to HTML5 allowing its developers to submit HTML5 web apps to Amazon’s Kindle fire. A source confirms that next version of Apple’s OS X will support plugin-free Netflix streaming using HTML5 interface. As a powerful enticement, several business’s owners are volunteering to upgrade their own offerings from Flash / Silverlight to HTML5.

Drawbacks?

Despite being built around webapps, having a better descriptive semantics and W3C’s plan to recommend HTML5 as the web standard in 2014, no technology can escape drawbacks and user criticism. Some developers complain on local storage capacity, forced upgrades, limitation for offline apps, etc… However, a majority of users, agree the fact that HTML 5 offers flexibility, development ease, and it is definitely here to stay!

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Experts concur that a major cause for the increase in the digital divide across the globe can be attributed to the digital revolution, which covers a very wide spectrum starting from conversion of basic analog text to audio and video descriptions illustrating the working of advanced medical imaging systems. The results of digitization can be immediate and rewarding for any business.

“Success in business is dependent on the ability to capitalize on opportunities at the right time”

Few people know that the River Nokianvirta in Finland was the inspiration behind the name for the electronic giant, Nokia Corporation. The company was founded by a young mining engineer Fredrik Idestam in 1865. Nearly 150 years of business mergers, reforms and reinventions have contributed to making Nokia the company we know today. Nokia, one of the world’s most sustainable technology houses with a total employee strength of more than 100,000, has manufactured more than 500 mobile handset models and numerous other electronic merchandise. Nokia announced the sale of their device and service verticals to Microsoft on April 25, 2014. While professionals are debating the various factors that led to Nokia’s downfall, many strongly believe that it was the company’s lackadaisical approach towards the smartphone market that hastened its downfall. Surprisingly, Nokia was the first to come up with a prototype of the touch and internet-enabled smartphone as early as in 1996. However, it did not recognize the increasing importance of software, underestimated the significance of the transition to smartphones and failed to re-orient its R&D efforts to meet the market sentiment. Put simply, Nokia “missed the bus” to capitalize on an open opportunity and paid the price for doing “too little too late.”

The Digital World – Current Strategy

The concept of the ebook has a similar story. Despite the raging debates that the print media, in other words books, is being sabotaged by digitization, publishing houses have actually accepted this development quite willingly. The technology is cheap, saves space, is travel friendly, ecofriendly and, more importantly, convenient.

The Cambridge Digital Library – Cambridge University Library’s digitization project that aims to make all the contents of the Cambridge Library available online – is one such example of the extent to which digitization is influencing the future of libraries worldwide. The digitization drive of the Cambridge Digital Library is driven by the logic that by digitizing books it will be possible to preserve their content and make it accessible to readers, literally for time immemorial, in the process overcoming the possibility of any damage to the existing fragile originals by eliminating the need for physical handling. Some of the remarkable accomplishments in this digitization effort of the Cambridge Digital Library include Isaac Newton’s personally annotated first edition of Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica and original Islamic manuscripts of the Quran from Tipoo Sahib’s library.

Internet giant Google Inc. has revealed its attempt to digitize every title using the “Google Book Search” project. Similarly, in late 2007, Amazon introduced “Kindle” – a e-reader device that uses wireless networking to autodeliver magazines, ebooks, newspapers, blogs, etc., as soon as the printed issue hits the stands. In fact, current trends indicate that the digital versions are being released ahead of the print versions. Amazon announced that their ebook sales for Kindle readers outnumbered the sales of hardcover books for the first time in 2010.

Not to be left behind in this digitization drive epublishers across India are promoting interest in ereaders by flooding the market with festive and weekend offers. Comic Con India – an online digital content provider based in New Delhi – says, “We are taking steps to ensure that Indian comics and mythological tales survive and are available to its fans easily.”

eBooks – A Window of Opportunity

The popularity of the internet and the myriad technologies of the day have ensured the wide reach and success of ebooks. As an ebook author or publisher, the fact that your content is not restricted to a single region is a huge selling point. For writers, the electronic medium holds the ultimate promise for self-publishing their work worldwide. They can reach a broader audience and have a better prospect of making a profit. Creative work is absorbed immediately by publishers, thereby generating healthy competition to produce quality ebooks in the online marketplace.

Today, reading content digitally has become a part of everyday life, so much so that “half of the American population has a handheld device for ebook reading,” says a Pew Research Report. Smartphones, ereaders and tablets are gaining popularity, offering additional opportunities for the “ebBook revolution.” The growing market of high functionality, low-priced, sleek, touch-enabled HD tablets and the increasing demand by readers to access content on such devices are forcing publishers to digitize diverse content, including school textbooks, research/business reports, and content in local languages, interactive ebooks and other similar products. The ebook concept is definitely here to stay and poses a window of opportunities waiting to be tapped for the benefit of one and all!

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In today’s world when everything under the sun is going “self,” publishing is also not far behind. Self-made, self-service, self-help, even “selfies” along with self-publishing are all trending. The cutting-edge technology of the day has given self-publishing a high-tech look and feel that is way beyond the imagination of book lovers.
The year 2014 is witnessing some remarkable changes and new trends in the world of self-publishing. Traditional media have adapted to this change and are moving from print to digital media. Ebooks have now become the favourite companion of readers and the most desirable platform for authors. The five major self-publishing trends that have made the headlines around the world are summarized below.

IngramSpark gives tough competition to Amazon’s CreateSpace

The new kid on the block in the domain of digital self-publishing is IngramSpark, the most recent launch of Ingram Content Group. Making the most of the ebook distribution service for self-publishers is now far easier. IngramSpark is being touted as the answer to self-publishing tools like CreateSpace, Lighting Source, and Inkling Habitat. This much anticipated, print-on-demand ebook distribution service offers separate dashboards to individual writers, making it a more sought after tool.

Readers can buy ebooks in bulk using Scribd’s ebook subscription services

As writers are increasingly being spoilt for choice by the numerous advanced tools that are available in order to fulfil their online self-publishing needs, publishers have come up with an equally good offer for readers too. Readers can instantly subscribe to ebooks at a nominal cost of $8.95 per month using the new subscription service launched by Scribd. This service seems like a wonderful opportunity for self-publishers, as they can now directly use Scribd or Smashwords for their publishing needs.

Fascinating and affordable book design templates

With the introduction of new book design templates, you can now create your own book templates in Microsoft Word. Sounds too good to be true, isn’t it? Yes, but this is not so good news for professional book designers. The Do-It-Yourself book design templates makes the entire process of self-publishing more independent and cost-effective. From over a dozen Word templates that are available on the web, you can download a template of your choice and use it to create a book template that looks as professional and is as authentic as templates designed using Adobe InDesign.

Vook takes on POD distribution to complete the publishing cycle

Vook has gone a step further to make its self-publishing service complete and friendlier for publishers. By taking on POD distribution, Vook provides end-to-end solutions to publishers who prefer to deal with a single service provider for all their publishing needs.

Bowker upgrades to web 2.0

Bowker or R.R. Bowker LLC – whose roots in the industry date back to 1868 – is the exclusive U.S. agent for issuing international standard book numbers (ISBNs). Bowker has served publishers, booksellers, libraries, self-publishers and the general public alike for a long time. The early users of ISBN.org realised the shortcomings of the service and Bowker responded to their feedback by revamping this service and making it user friendly. The Self Published Author.com website launched by Bowker is a rich and reliable warehouse of useful data and information.

Although these trends are continuations of developments that began in 2013, they have facilitated the transformation of self-publishing from a modest and fairly limited phenomenon to one with huge commercial implications, in addition to having earned popularity and widespread acceptance in the publishing industry. Other developments in the near future will merely accelerate the self-publishing revolution in the digital epoch.

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Technological advancements play a major role in every phase of modern life so much so that even the worlds of writing and publishing have not been spared of its impacts. Until the dawn of the social media, the steps involved in publishing and releasing a book were simple. It involved obtaining the rights to print the book, launching it, publishing it, distributing it to retailers and, last but not the least, earning profits.

However, all that has changed now, thanks to the almost every day technological advancement we are witnessing today. Printed copies are now e-copies; Hardbacks and paperbacks are now e-books. The advent of electronic publishing has changed the face of traditional publishing. The rise of the Digital Publishing Industry has paved the way for books to be published in a more far-reaching and easy manner. Publishing houses have upgraded their processes to accommodate multiple platforms that encompass both traditional printing and advanced electronic publishing, the latter involving the conversion of PDF to EPUB.

To take advantage of these advancements, publishers need to stay abreast of these developments as they happen and take into account the significant role of the social media in this field. Understanding how social media can affect publishers or their book’s reputation and reach to readers is very crucial. Players like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram have all revolutionized the operations of many publishing houses. The points listed below enlighten us as to how and why these social media players wield their influence on the publishing industry.

1. Secondary gratis market channels

Simply put, it is free Marketing! The more the people see a product, the greater is its reach. The social media can promote almost anything in the form of updates, promos and even posts from people. It is practically free and therefore definitely more affordable when compared with snippets, printouts, flyers, posters or TV/radio ads. Social media can be the best marketing platform as long as the seller/promoter ensures uniqueness of concept and presents alluring visuals in the promotions.

2. Bridges the gap between writers and their fans

Discussing or even sharing a minute experience from the book with the author would be a dream come true for a loyal reader. Social media brings such dreams to life. Rather than waiting for a media or press meet or another similar occasion, I can now post my question directly to the author on his page.

3. Mediator between reader and publisher

Using their social media accounts readers can enquire directly with the publisher about when the next volume or part of a much-awaited book will be released. They can share their views about the book or the author. Feedback and questions from readers can help the publishers draw up strategies to sell their books to their target audiences in a more effective manner thereby ensuring their profits. By analyzing and paying attentions to readers’ needs, publishers can streamline their publications to keep pace with current trends and cater to readers’ expectations, which in turn will help them avoid disappointing sales and losses.

4. Avoiding the pain of hiring marketing people

For most self-published authors hiring a separate team to promote and market their book has always been a turnoff. Profits earned always ended up being spent on promotional activities. However, the social media has helped overcome this pain by making affordable marketing options available to those who are willing to use them. Simply create a post on your ‘wall’, tweet about it, add a video or pictures and you are ready to go. An unusual and creative e-promotion is likely to have people who view it promote it by spreading word about it online.

5. The variety and choices on offer

The biggest impact of the social media is the choices available to readers gets when they go online. The range of electronically published material available for reader to select from is so wide and varied in that even press reports, newspapers, periodicals and magazines are using social media to promote their content. The popular advice from experts to such service providers is for them to get their content online to acquire the most reach.

We would love to hear your perspective on how the modern generation social media is affecting the trends in the publishing industry.

Gen Y and eBooks

Nov
2013
18

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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.