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Old 04-17-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
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Are Apps the Future of Book Publishing

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We’re at the dawn of the tablet era now. Earlier this month, Apple sold 3 million of its new iPad during the opening weekend, with some analysts expecting over 60 million of the tablets to be sold worldwide. What’s more, e-book readers are selling even more briskly than tablets. People are using those e-readers, too. On Amazon.com, books for its Kindle outsell its paper books.

What’s more, the explosion of e-books is putting pressure on publishers between demands for price cuts on one hand, and competition from independent authors like Amanda Hocking, who earned over $2 million selling e-books on her own before signing with a major publisher.

It’s no surprise, then, that publishers are turning to the app as a possible product for books moving forward. This has led to another movement towards enhanced books, particularly as apps for iPhone, Android, and other tablets. Are tablet apps the book of the future? In order to find out, I talked to authors, publishers, and app programmers, and read more than a few book apps.

LINK


Whither ebooks?
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:44 PM   #2
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If apps are the future of publishing, I'm sticking with the past
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Old 04-17-2012, 08:46 PM   #3
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The same as they are now... available to read... The "enhanced" book will sell some where the effort is put into making something genuinely an addition to the book but most will end up being "also rans" just for the sake of it and probably pollute the field for others as has happened several times over the decades...
A lot depends on the types of books involved... non-fiction could benefit in many ways by other additions but I go with the additional comments on the Forbes page in that I'm perfectly happy with my imagination for fiction... it's always given better pictures and sounds than the TV or cinema...
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:50 AM   #4
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Apps are not the future of book publishing, but a few of them may be a part of book publishing. They will basically fill the role that books like "Griffin and Sabine" (I can't think of a newer example, although I'm sure there is one) fill.
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Old 04-18-2012, 02:46 AM   #5
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We need applications to read ebooks, so yeah in a way I guess they are the future, past, and present of ebooks.

I suppose the article is referring to singlepurpose "ebook" apps built from templates, still a text by any definition.
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Old 04-18-2012, 10:40 AM   #6
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I think that one issue may be the upcoming Ipad/iPod touch generation. My 6 and 8 year old nephews have iPod touches , and they are reading children 's book apps that have enhanced content. Kids of that generation take it for granted that books will come with audio and interactivity and may view text only books the way we view medevial scrolls .
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:20 AM   #7
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Apps may be the future for many encylopedia style books and young children's books where video, animation and sound can be just as important as the text.

For fiction books aimed at young adult and beyond though I see apps being nothing more than a novelty (famous last words I guess ). There might be a market for buying a special edition of an ebook as a bundle that includes the standard ebook mobi/epub form + a download of the enhanced app.

For example, LOTR or HP would never be replaced by an App. I really cannot see it. However, I could see in addition to the ebooks an "Everything you wanted to know about LOTR/HP" style interactive book that would include maps you can zoom in on, click on an area to bring up information about the region and links to clips from the films that took part there. Cast interviews, behind the scenes clips and interactive games.

So in a way apps are the future of some books but I think it'll be more of a symbiotic relationship with traditional ebooks.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:45 AM   #8
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I'd like to see more kids books be more interactive. That, and some text books. But, for regular books, I can't see them being replaced by these enhanced apps/books.
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Old 04-18-2012, 11:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
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If apps are the future of publishing, I'm sticking with the past
Agreed.
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Old 04-18-2012, 12:19 PM   #10
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The Atavist is a nice IOS app that features nonfiction works with audio playbacks and links to images and video/ audio clips.
I can see an ehanced LOTR with interactive maps. All fantasy book readers seem to want maps!
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Old 04-18-2012, 03:35 PM   #11
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To answer the question in the thread topic: In the vast majority of cases, no. Of the millions of texts produced each year, only a small number would benefit from being enhanced and an even smaller number of those will be enhanced due to the costs involved and the limited market.

All this is is a new product offering to expand the market, not a replacement of current product offering. That said, I can completely see publishers dumping a bunch of money into producing more books as apps while declaring it to be the future, and then watching in mute horror as the bottom falls out of the fad.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:10 PM   #12
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I can completely see publishers dumping a bunch of money into producing more books as apps while declaring it to be the future, and then watching in mute horror as the bottom falls out of the fad.
There was a slew of such books in the 90s when CDROM first became common in computers, that fad didn't last very long either. I'm holding out for 3D screens so that I can have a fist fly out and punch the reader in the face.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:39 PM   #13
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I'd like to see more kids books be more interactive. That, and some text books. But, for regular books, I can't see them being replaced by these enhanced apps/books.
Yes of course, "A young lady's illustrated primer" would be ideal for children, at least theoretically. It is hard to wonder at the effects such devices would have on the future of our culture.
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:27 PM   #14
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I think dedicated apps (1 app for a single book) will be a rarity -- it seems very overblown to me and reminds me of the late 90s when web designers were convincing companies that they needed every bell and whistle in the book in the early days of the web.

(Sure, there will be some books that require something special and unique, but most books will be a content file, like an MP3, while the App is like a media player -- one app to rule them all.)
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Old 04-18-2012, 08:35 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ninjalawyer View Post
All this is is a new product offering to expand the market, not a replacement of current product offering. That said, I can completely see publishers dumping a bunch of money into producing more books as apps while declaring it to be the future, and then watching in mute horror as the bottom falls out of the fad.
Yup. Sold by programmers with new toys to play with. Bought hook, line and sinker. Probably going to sink like a stone.
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