I am monitoring the iPad not only from my personal reaction but also to the value that various apps have in relationship to the publishing business and any affects on printing.
Recently Richard Romano of WhatTheyThink wrote an excellent article for Printing Industries of America The Magazine, In the article in the Forecast Part 1, Trends and Tactics, Romano’s article, “ E-Books Go Mainstream,” he opened with a tantalizing “Trivial Pursuit” question about “Who was the first author to sell one million e-books?” This question was really a mechanism to illustrate the difficulty in actually paying attention and analyzing the use, purchase, and comparison to book sales that exist. What all the attributed facts and illustrations proved is that e-books are impacting publishing and print products…not to mention our lives. The general fact is that e-books are gaining ground in all book categories. For the Forecast article see http://www.printing.org/page/4508
Since we are exploring the use of an app to download The Magazine and other publications, I am also monitoring the results of magazine subscriptions and use on the iPad. In a recent article in WWDMedia http://prnt.in/ZZt , the author points out that actual subscriptions to digital versions are going down rather than up. The author compares the strong initial digital sales to the diminishing numbers now.
So what? Publishers and printers (particularly of magazines and books) and cross-media service providers need to watch this trend so that we can match tactics with this knowledge.
So to my own reaction to books and magazines on the iPad:
Magazines. Yes, I like the magazines on iPad especially since a user can launch into video’s and see more than just read content. On the other hand, I don’t want to pay for a subscription. (A reoccurring theme?) Frankly, as much as I read, I don’t really have the time or interest to click through and experience more fully the content but that is me! Particularly since I receive many magazines in hard copy, I want a complimentary copy of these magazines on the iPad. Yes, I would be willing to pay for a digital copy but not at this time; and I only wanted to experience the newspaper on iPad. Newspapers fall into the same category as magazines…do you want to pay for a subscription? I get three newspapers—Washington Post, Washington Times and the Wall Street Journal….the apps for these are available. (WSJ is free; Washington Post is $1.99; nothing on Washington Times) on my iPhone and I also get an RSS feed on my Google account for news and magazines. How many versions in any form can I read and enjoy?
Books. Readability is terrific, convenience is excellent…but I still have the cost issue and the fear of someone stealing the iPad if I carry it in public places. Back to Romano’s article, he gave a very good review of the barriers to e-book adoption…you should read the article. Romano also mentioned the digital rights management issue (DRM) which addresses supposed “pirates and thieves” who may post a digital book for public use. That is another irritant to my personal enjoyment of e-books…I like to share copies with my friends and family. Frankly, I won’t give away my iPad to “lend” a book title. Or will I?
BTW I did lend my iPad to someone so they can experience it….where is it? I am going after it now!