Recently, I had an opportunity to meet many publishers during my visit to the US. During these meetings it became very clear to me that almost every publisher is trying to build a strategy around digital content management and delivery. With the global acceptance, popularity and reach of devices like Kindle, iPad, Nook and other tablet-based readers everyone has recognized that the demand for digital content is going to supersede all other forms of content consumption in near future. This demand is also being felt in the emerging economies. Therefore the problems faced by publishers are universal; probably the scale and dynamics are slightly different.
From a technology perspective, the development of EPUB standard has helped publishers move quickly into digital publishing. HTML5 has also given an opportunity to build interactive content. With new media it is important to leverage the advantages of the medium. Combining EPUB with HTML5 interactions help publishers create experiences that were impossible to create through print. However, the DRM aspects around HTML5 content seem to be limiting the industry from adopting it as a de-facto standard. In subsequent discussions, we will cover the pros and cons of the EPUB standard in greater depth.
On the business side, publishers cannot rely only on the leading distribution channels like Amazon and Apple to solve all their problems. Very recently there was big news, that the US government and some states have filed a case against Apple and other publishers stating that they were conspiring to set e-book prices such that it will harm the consumers. It’s very clear that publishers need a solution whereby they can use the global channels as well as come up their own proprietary models to address the local market, where they would like to retain their dominance and market share.
In a nutshell, we can say that the publishers today have 3 major areas to address to be successful in this new era of digital content. Those being:
- Providing a rich and highly interactive digital reading experience to consumers
- Using the right mix of technology solutions (EPUB, HTML5, Proprietary Standards), and
- Leveraging the right channel (global/local) based on consumption and price point
There is a huge market for digital content and what we are experiencing is just the start of a big transformation!
Stay tuned for more…
- Electronic Publication (EPUB): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EPUB
- Digital Right Management (DRM): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_rights_management
- US Government Lawsuit against Apple and Publishers (last update): http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/press_releases/2012/282133.htm