This Wednesday sees the second @Book_Machine Twitter chat #BMhour at 6.30pm GMT.
The topic up for debate is ‘How can we add value to digital editions of books and still sell printed material?’ a topic that eMC Design, along with the rest of the publishing world, have been talking about for many months now.
An easy answer is that in the not too distant future Publishers might not be selling printed versions at all and everything will happen electronically. However, some people thought that by the beginning of the 21st Century we would all be flying to work on jet packs and recovering from the millennium bug!
So a less cynical approach would be to:
1. Understand that a digital edition needs to be different to the hard copy edition and the two need to sit cohesively and be of mutual benefit to each other.
2. Assess the capabilities of the technology that already exist. And understand how these could enhance and be incorporated into a “product family” or package.
3. Be adaptable. Whatever your chosen approach is make sure that you can change and adapt as quickly as the technology does.
4. Content that is automatically pushed out to multiple platforms (web, books, apps) might be the cheapest and quickest way to achieve a broad range of products, but the nature of all of these platforms are different so each will need a considered approach.
5. Research – choose the right “digital” platform for your readers. There is no point in spending a lot of money developing an app for a smart phone if the majority of your readers don’t own one.
6. Aesthetic – don’t settle for something that looks “ok” or “is a bit clunky but at least you can download it” Having a digital edition of printed material isn’t good enough, it has to look as good and work aesthetically on the “page” as well as the hard copy does. If not better!
It is clear that there are many ways of enhancing a readers experience by using technology. Just take a look through out blog over the last few months to see the breadth of technology that’s emerging:
Being able to sell both versions of a title (or even several electronic versions: website access, apps, cd-roms) is the crux of the matter for publishers. And the best way of ensuring they can do this is to make sure the printed and electronic versions offer different things so that the value can really be felt by the reader.
Has this topic whetted your appetite? If so come and chat with us at the next #BMhour this Wednesday and share your views and experiences.
It should be an exciting debate with lots of new ideas, so log in for the full discussion and follow the hash-tag #BMhour on Twitter. Look out for Book Machine’s write up of the event on Thursday if you can’t take part.