Everyone seems to be talking about ebooks and how they’ll change these days. Lightspeed ventures recently published a blog post on how tablets and kindles will change reading. It’s here. Go read it first.
Here’s some excerpts of that post that are highly relavent to what we’re going to talk about:
The first attempts to capitalize on a new medium are always simple ports from an old medium. The first TV shows were newscasts – basically the same as radio, a guy reading the news. The first e-commerce sites were cataloges ported to the internet, with the same copy and a single picture. But over time, content that is customized to each medium comes to the fore. Now we have the sit com, the police procedural and the reality show on TV, and flash sales, subscription commerce and daily deals online. So how will Tablets and Kindles change the way we read?
They recognized that the economics of print publishing have forced books to be 80-100,000 words long. Anyone who has read a business book knows that this does a disservice to both reader and writer. Some ideas have a natural length less than 100,000 words, and extending them to book length does no good to anyone. But the economics of book publishing, and the public’s willingness to pay for a “small book”, forced this convention. Ebooks have no such constaints, and allow authors to write at any length. Byliner is taking a similar approach, trying to build an eBook centric publisher.
- Publishing side: Publishers getting chewed up by Amazon (Which doesn’t particularly care about the long term health of the industry. Or so it appears)
- Author side: Is it possible or good to cut the middle man out? What are the services that are provided by publishers that need to be moved over into the internet age? Can we make publishing easier?
- Consumer side of the house: How can we the consumers find good content? Do books really have to be massive walls of text? Or should they be shorter? More in line with a blog post so we can quickly consume bite sized pieces of information? Can they be interactive? In general, how do we improve the reading experience of e-books with all the possibilities that the medium presents?