The old adage ‘change is the only constant’ is just as true in the world of publishing, if not more so.
Reader expectations are changing all the time. Not only in terms of content (who would have thought 50 Shades of Grey would have sold so well?) but also in terms of delivery. The new generation is ‘always on’, which means that there is a constant demand for their attention, whether it’s facebook, twitter or texting. Give them boring old text and they will soon lose interest.
What does this mean for the publishers and authors trying to stay ahead of the curve?
We think it means two things:
1. Shorter books
2. More interactive content
In terms of shorter books, Amazon is, as usual, a thought leader, introducing Amazon Singles (2 million sold this year), with Nook ‘Snaps’ not far behind. Some people think willingness to pay is linked to the length of the book but there’s an equal and opposite point of view that says that shorter ebooks are easier to finish and should do just as well, if not better, as a result. Audio books are no different, with many people preferring audio books that last two hours over those that last 14 hours (unless you are an international truck driver that is!)
In terms of content, while ebook formats are still pretty static for various reasons, ebooks will certainly become more interactive. It’s just a matter of time as the technology improves and costs tumble.
It might take some time for our current reading habits (longer books and less interactive content) to change but it’s worth considering for those looking to take advantage of the digital revolution.