The Rise and Fall and Rise of Ebooks

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Ebooks have had false starts before but there are solid reasons to believe that they’re now well and truly on their way. Digital Publishing Forum NZ Director Martin Taylor provides some background to …

Ebooks have had false starts before but there are solid reasons to believe that they’re now well and truly on their way. Digital Publishing Forum NZ Director Martin Taylor provides some background to the ebook hype, explains some jargon, highlights some trends and opportunities, and updates you on the latest digital publishing developments internationally and in New Zealand.

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  • 1. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Ebooks Martin Taylor Digital Publishing Forum digitalpublishing.org.nz Thanks to our sponsors
  • 2. What we'll cover
    • The drivers of the industry today
    • Why the rise of ebooks will be different this time
    • Where’s the money ?
    • Some (almost) free things to get you started today 
  • 3. The technology drivers
    • 1971 – ebook 'invented' by Michael Hart, Project Gutenberg
    • 1978 - PC
    • 1992 - 'Web 1.0'
    • 1999-2002 – ‘Year of the ebook’
    • 2004 - Web 2.0
    • Now – wider trends will drive ebook adoption
      • Smartphones – Apple, Google Android, Blackberry, Palm
      • Mobile Web
      • Cloud computing and decline of PC
      • New screen technologies and device types
  • 4. Ebook readers today Amazon Kindle 2 (approx 500,000 sold, USA only) Sony Reader (400,000 sold, US, UK) Apple iPhone / iPod Touch (30 million sold In 80 countries)
  • 5. Books feature strongly in iPhone App store downloads 4 th by downloads Week of 1 March 09
  • 6. Coming up Fujitsu FLEPia colour ‘e-paper mobile terminal’ Plastic Logic Large e-ink displays due mid-2009 with wireless, touchscreen E-ink can be printed onto flexible surfaces Netbooks may become a viable reading platform
  • 7. Technology adoption lifecycle Rogers bell curve
  • 8. US consumer technology adoption Source: New York Times 10 Feb 2008
  • 9. Two markets for e-reading
    • Short, casual reading
    • Longer reading , in-depth, immersed experience
    • Amazon targets these two markets with its Kindle strategy
      • Kindle ebook reader, Kindle for iPhone
    • E-reading doesn't have to be better than paper, just better for some situations
    • Casual reading market opportunity is immediately available in NZ
  • 10. In summary: Reasons it will be different this time
    • Reading technology will be good enough
    • Wireless web
    • Likely format standard - ePub
    • Experience from the false start in early 2000s
    • Amazon
      • and Sony .. and Apple .. and Google ..
    • .. Which means ... Readers will demand ebooks
  • 11. How will things change? Some thoughts from TOC ‘09
      • Readers
      • 'reading is becoming a social act ' - Peter Brantley, Digital Library Federation, NY
      • Publishers
      • must become more reader-centric
      • ' community builder '
      • primacy of reader’s positive experience
        • “ how can we make this the best possible experience for the reader? ”
      • but key publisher role remains to screen, improve, finance, sell, distribute, nurture 
  • 12. Where's the money?
    • Less than 1% of trade sales in US
      • But readers are paying
      • Books are 100% 'paid content'
      • Mobile users have been conditioned to pay
    • But opportunities to monetise a bigger market
      • Pass-along readers = more buyers
      • More opportunities to read = more readers
      • Global market opportunity
  • 13. Where's the money? US wholesale ebook revenues December 2008 quarter +100% vs prior year Source: idpf.org
  • 14. How the price of an ebook is set
    • Based on ' p-book '
    • Cost-plus
    • Marginal costing
    • Market-based – optimise price/volume equation based on buyer behaviour
    • Price taker , eg from dominant retailer
    • Other models – subscription, 'literature as service', by chapter, loss-leader for p-book, advertising-supported
  • 15. How much should the ebook edition of a $30 paper book cost? Source: Digital Publishing Forum: digitalpublishing.org.nz – online poll conducted February-March 2009
  • 16. Where's the money – Getting started
    • Don't over-invest in the start-up
    • Do start early
      • The cheapest time to buy marketshare is early in a market
    • Pace yourself – it will take longer than you think
    • Use time to reduce capital needed
  • 17. Simple steps you can take today
    • Buy an iPhone or iPod Touch ($389)
      • Install Stanza and start reading
    • Publish and sell your first ebook(s)
      • smashwords.com or calibre ( calibre.kovidgoyal.net )
    • Get your digital rights in order – share of net income?
    • Join a social network and see how they work
      • facebook.com , linkedin.com , twitter.com
    • Keep learning
      • Martin's eReport blog – activitypress.com/ereport
      • Mark your diary : Future of the Book / Future of the Book in Education conference, Auckland 24-25 June
  • 18. Thanks! Martin Taylor web: digitalpublishing.org.nz email: martin@digitalstrategies.co.nz blog: activitypress.com/ ereport