Wednesday, February 23, 2011

E-books: We Will Pay for Online Content

Majority of Internet users are readers--blurb readers, that is. Most people want short and easy-to-digest information they can quickly absorb. Especially business readers are more likely to consume and share any content with bullets, call outs and fewer than 15 pages. They need actionable snippets of data to make business decisions. Digital readers such as Kindle, Nook and the iPad, as well as the e-reader apps, fuel this trend. Whether from news sites or digital bookstores, users can now search and pull information while reading.

Self-publishing platforms from Kindle (KDP), Barnes and Noble (PubIt) and Google Books are changing this game and taking it a step further. They are empowering content producers by enabling them to self-publish e-books. The platforms let authors dust off manuscripts arbitrarily ignored by literary agents and publishing houses. It also opens the doors to researchers and thinkers who can publish reports fast and disseminate them to Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Google audiences. TED announced it would be publishing a series of ebooks, fewer than 20,000 words at $2.50. The NY-based futurist think tank PSFK has put its reports on the future of healthcare on Amazon's Kindle platform for $25. Wouldn't you pay for it with your corporate credit card? There is little barrier to purchase in these cases. 

As more users seek business information through e-readers, brands, service providers and authors will supplement their subscription revenue streams. Currently, iBooks and Kindle apps are among the top 100 free apps on iTunes, making a second suite of devices open to e-books. For business audiences armed with smart phones, e-books that give them quick, practical advice will be indispensable. E-book authors who can socialize their content and sustain online/offline conversations around their publications will attain notoriety.

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