|04-28-2006, 12:22 PM||#1|
Recovering Gadget Addict
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Device: Droid Charge, MacBook Air, Nook HD+
Should mobile e-books be different than regular books?
The demand for e-books on mobile devices, especially phones, is growing. And in Japan it appears that it's bigger than in the U.S., with the BBC reporting that "Stunned by the seemingly huge untapped demand, traditional publishing houses and mobile content providers alike have been scrambling for a piece of this novel mobile action." In fact, "Today there are a number of sites, where for a subscription of $10 to 15 (£5.70 to £8.70) a month you can download every genre imaginable to your heart's content."
But whether we are talking about mobile video or mobile games or mobile e-books, it never fails to bring statements from the industry about how we should tailor the content to mobile devices and make it shorter. The experts seem to feel that you consume in tiny bits on a mobile device so the content should be created that way. The argument seems so logical on the surface, but let's dig a little deeper because I think it's mostly a fallacy, and I want to propose a much better approach.
The best way to see what I mean is to imagine MP3 players on phones. How successful would it be to hire a bunch of hacks to write short songs aimed at the mobile population? Not likely to be successful at all. That's because quality is essential. People want the real stuff, not just a song that fits their favorite song form factor. About the only way I see this working is if famous artists write ring tones or special purpose jingles. (Mariah Carey has been hired to do just that, by the way.)
Same thing with e-books. Are good quality short stories likely to do well? Sure. But if you start writing e-books just for mobile devices, you had better either get really famous quality authors with an interesting topic, or do something like a romance novel where quality doesn't matter anyway. Bite size books may become part of the landscape, but they will never replace people's desire to choose their reading materials from among the best selling books.
And don't even consider special 2 minute content as a main diet for mobile viewers. Maybe it has a long shot chance, but most likely it will always be low quality, so the only hope is if people want a dose of their favorite hot actor or show, like the cell-versions of 24 and Prison Break.
Besides, there is a better approach for bite sized video. It's already done for TV to incorporate commercials. Simply package the best TV shows in bite sized pieces as if you were doing a commercial every five minutes. (But leaving out the commercials themselves, I hope!) We're used to commercial breaks, which leave a show broken up into 15-20 min segments. Why not make them 5 min segments. If you want to watch more, you just jump on the next segment. You might need to improve the playlist functionality, but that's sure to come soon anyway.
For e-books I see the same solution. Don't create separate junky content for mobile readers. Simply consider improving the bookmarking system, and maybe create a few artificial subchapters.
With this approach to both video and e-book content on mobile devices, not only have you solved the problem of bite sized users, but you have both a huge amount of available content and also a great way to repackage and resell content by adding value instead of resorting to DRM that makes the consumer rebuy material just to continue to have access! People are a lot more likely to want to buy material if it's actually serving their purposes.
Via PDA 24/7
|04-28-2006, 12:50 PM||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2006
Device: SHARP Zaurus C1000
I'm with you. Mobile e-books should differ perhaps in its formatting, but not in its content or length. Then again, I really don't see why there should be so much differences in formatting, since most books don't have pictures ... its just text and more text. If the whole book can be downloaded and stored locally, I'm sure pressing a button to scroll down is not too bad. I mean, give your thumb some exercise yeah?
And please, let WAP die already ... dunno about you, but I hope there is no smart aleck converting normal ebooks into WAP format. Just let ppl download and store ebooks locally and read.
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