The age of mobile
There is a rampant growth in Smartphone and Tablet Market across the globe (2.9 billion units by 2017–Gartner). India is projected to become 3rd largest Smartphone market in the world by 2017 (rising from 27.8 million units to 1.5 billion units by 2017—a whopping 459.7 % Growth and UK is projected to grow by 33.8 %). The main factors affecting this growth are: availability of low cost devices and growing Internet Network Coverage (3G to 4G).
Content Consumption Patterns
All these mind boggling numbers clearly indicate that there is going to be a substantial growth in consumption of content as well. The number and diversity of apps in Google Play and Apple iStore, is increasing exponentially day by day and influencing overall pattern of usage of these devices. People always desire to use their devices for multiple purposes right from creating day-to-day task sheets to wedding planning, from getting weather updates to booking tickets. And most importantly, people not only want the device to enable them to perform something but also want it to entertain them. Look at the number of mobile games being downloaded every day, check out the number of YouTube videos being watched on smart devices (YouTube recently changed their layout to make it compatible for tablets and smart phones), and similarly, the trend of consuming books (in ebook format) is also increasing.
Readership is on the Go
Along with Video Consumption and Social Media Engagement, there is a remarkable growth in Readership of Digital Books and Magazines. (From August 2012 to February 2013, there was a 200% average growth in readers of digital publishing apps.—Adobe Research).
eBooks are already popular on the mobile devices (Android, IOS). Google Play has launched Google Books and already distributing several region specific titles and getting a great response and so is App Store.
Is mere digitization a solution?
Although, there are key benefits of these eBooks — storage, portability, and ease in accessibility, they are hardly exploiting the real capacities of these mobile devices. Will it be sufficient to give just the electronic version of these books/magazines to the ‘ever hungry for novel experiences’ consumer?
On the other hand, there are several books which are incapable of proving their true potential solely because of the lack of interactivity in the printed form. For example, self-help books, management books, how to do stuff books contain substantial amount of exercises and activities. However, they have to rely heavily on the readers to achieve their learning objectives through these exercises and activities.
The technology today allows these books to come alive. We can transform the passive information material into interactive instructional content. The publishers, especially of self help books and other management books, should start exploring this new channel of content delivery and can make their existing bestselling titles available in this new age potential market of smart devices.
Matching the pieces: Interactive Books
Publishers can target this potential market by creating Interactive Book Apps based on their already published and bestselling titles primarily Management and Self Help Books and deliver an innovative learning and most importantly, entertaining experience for the mobile device users.
The Interactive Book App may have the following components:
- Book Reader
A basic book reader that will allow the readers to read the book text on their device with typical eBook reader functionalities.
- Multimedia Content
Engaging multimedia content like Videos, Motion Graphics, Infographics, Archival Footage (audio/video/pictures) based on the content of book.
- Interactivity and Simulations
- Interactive Exercises, Role Plays, Simulations and Case Studies based on the content of book.
- Simulation can be also designed as Simulation Games to be played on multi-player environment or social networking sites.
- Social Reading
Ability to share quotes, exercise results, other activities in the app on social media networking, directly through the app.
- Research Facility
Ability to research through Google, Wikipedia, etc. directly from the app and the content bits directly from the net to the app (like a research diary).
Timely updates from the author of the book directly to the app will be a great selling point.
- Ask the Author/community
Ability to interact with the author: either through community page or dedicated author’s page.
Market Insights: Aiming to be a Digital Publisher (in real sense)?
The traditional publishing is taking a backseat these days. Publishers are looking out for avenues to target the new market and make their titles portable with the new consumption patterns and devices.
An Interactive Book App can be a great solution for publishers to tap the Tablet/Smartphone market by converting their bestselling titles in to an Interactive App (Android/IOS/Windows, etc.)
Several western and European books are being converted in to Interactive Apps and seemingly getting good response on App Store (IOS). Right from a well known publisher like Penguin (Atlas Shrugged App) to upcoming authors (Chopsticks), these apps are certainly becoming popular and opening new markets for the traditional publishers and upcoming authors.
Interactive Book Apps can target the entertainment and education stream of consumption simultaneously. While most of these apps are focusing on the popular fiction, the real potential seems to be in the Non-Fiction content. There is tremendous opportunity to enhance the efficacy of ‘Self Help Books’, ‘Management Books’ and ‘How To Do Stuff’ kind of books.
Example of Apps (on IOS):
Article about future of such apps: