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What Can We Learn from the eBook Evolution?

Posted on 2012-Jul-27

by Paul Salvette

Why do we always need something more to feed our appetite? What do our differences in taste signify? Can’t authors find the perfect genre to make their lives worth living?

The Collapse of Brick-and-Mortar Stores

A Closed Bookstore

Ten years ago, we could hide ourselves inside the air-conditioned library for hours waiting for friends to go to a pizza place or a movie theater. Bookstores and record stores mushroomed on every corner of the street like buzzing flies. Customers flocked inside to make a purchase based on the physicality of the materials and the tangible impression they got inside the brick-and-mortar shop.

Flash-forward to the present, the aforementioned stores have filed for bankruptcy and the rest of them are nearly empty. Thailand’s teens tend to gather around the test prep and comic section as though they were absorbing whatever free product put on the shelf. At the cashier register a few moments later, they are seen walking out of the store empty-handed. The shelf – once populated with desirable collections of specially designed bookcases and jewel cases – is now crammed with self-help guides to be a better human and appealing artists. What you get in one shop can also be had in a thousand different places nearby at the same price.

Booksellers tend to play it safe by investing exclusively on popular titles to establish themselves as successful shop owners. Since the commercial appeal is likely determined by bestselling authors or artists, their brand awareness becomes less meaningful and relevant. Getting your book into a physical bookstore is difficult and extremely expensive.

A New Hope with eBooks

The eBook tells a story in its own evolving history. Humbly birthed in e-ink devices, the rapid expansion caught readers by storm. Its lineage can be traced back to 1940’s according to Wikipedia but the boom period was the millennium era that foresaw the practicality of hyperlinked texts in several platforms and devices. In 2009, Amazon revolutionized the print industry by embedding advanced technologies on its featured eReader. “Lighter,” “brighter,” and “chattier” were some of the catchy characteristics Jeff Bezos was so proud to differentiate his flagship product from other competitors.

The number of eBooks sold is constantly increasing as we mentioned in our previous blog posts. Our question posits that there are still opportunities to make eBook sales more profitable and possibly accessible by a new audience. Take app development, for instance. Joseph Janes cites a great example how Penguin’s Atlas Shrugged contains multimedia content e.g. manuscripts samples, author’s personal information, discussion guide, documentary, testimonials from influential figures, and fun questions to engage readers.

The recollection of our reading from the old days embraces those elements inside eBooks. Nonetheless, when printed texts appear to be obsolete in this digital era, hyperlinks and advanced visual presentation open readers to endless possibilities to enhance their reading experience under their finger. Most importantly, for our valued authors, we reckon this is just the beginning of your creative writing career.

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Label: eBook Industry News

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