10 Bounces Of A Moving Target: Publishing Goes Mobile

Image - iStockphoto: sjale
Image – iStockphoto: sjale

Can You Hear Me Now?

No, it’s not just you. Among our favorite confusing topics in digital publishing these days, mobile really gets around (sorry). And that’s because it’s thought by a great many people to be the coming thing. Maybe the already here thing. Maybe the you are so late thing.

Forget plastics. Graduate to mobile.

After all, you can find reports of supposedly well-documented trends that will tell you anything you want them to say. Such as:

  • Young people adore mobile, they’re reading everything on their phones
  • Young people hate mobile, they want print books to get off their phones
  • Just worry about iOS, forget Android
  • Just worry about Android, forget iOS
  • Optimizing your books for all the mobile platforms is easy
  • Optimizing your books for all the mobile platforms will kill you
  • Nobody can read for more than 25 seconds on a mobile device because of digital distractions
  • Nobody can read for more than 25 seconds on paper, either, because we’re all wading ankle-deep in Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows thanks to the Internet, here in the twilight of human intelligence

We won’t know for some time how digital publishing finds its footing in mobile technology. And conversations about it tend to cross the jargon line way too frequently. Device specs and sales figures are like brambles in the pastures of literature, really. When you want to know how your audience will read your novel next year, the number of pixels in a smartphone camera just isn’t what you sat down to think about, is it?

But this is part of the problem: a lot of good technology (and some of the other kind, I’m sure) is meeting a lot of good publishing (and we’ve all read the other kind)…and if the line of ascent is taking us from paper books to laptops to e-readers to tablets and on to smartphones, you’re going to need to get a firm grip on which part of the whole thing means the most to you:

  • Maybe that’s author earnings
  • Maybe it’s device design
  • Maybe it’s subscription models
  • Maybe it’s advertising-revenue potentials
  • Maybe it’s eye care for the squinty-jiggly subway readers

So I’m glad to find new commentary from a couple of our most diligent observers of the scene. And because your attention span is being challenged there on your own mobile device — I’m waving to your earphone jack — I’ll give you just a few thoughts to roll around in your overtaxed mind. Not full arguments or issues. Just ways into the whole conversation.

These points are by no means final, foolproof, definitive…I did mention confusion, right? But they’ll give you an idea of why the issues seem so fraught.

Thad McIlroy
Thad McIlroy

Thad McIlroy is a consultant in publishing based in Vancouver. Ahead of the May 27-28 International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF) Conference that opens BookExpo America, he and I have been talking about the social implications of what he characterizes  as “the explosion in mobile technologies and mobile adaption.”

McIlroy will also be speaking to authors about international expansion on ourFirst Word team and in other sessions at the Novelists Inc. Conference in early October. And as for mobile, he “wrote the book on it”: Mobile Strategies for Digital Publishing: A Practical Guide to the Evolving Landscape is just out from Digital Book World.

Marcello Vena
Marcello Vena

And Marcello Vena founded Italy’s RCS Mediagroup’s digital division in trade books and now runs his own Milan-based consultancy, called All Brain. Vena will be speaking atKlopotek’s highly regarded Publishers’ Forum, being directed this year by Rüdiger Wischenbart for April 27 and 28 in Berlin.

You may remember our coverage here at Thought Catalog of Vena’s concept of what’s happening to the theory of the “long tail,” crushed as what he calls a “lost tail” under the unprecedented number of books being published by a digitally cranked-up industry. Vena will give a free seminar, “Dispelling the Myth of the Long Tail in the Economy of Digital Books,” at London Book Fair on Thursday 16th April, 11;30 a.m.

The points I’m pulling out for you here come from two articles out just this week. One is put together by Digital Book World’s (DBW) Rich Bellis in New York, Android, Apple and Mobile Ebooks: A Roundtable. The other is from the Geneva-based International Publishers Association (IPA), and it’s a Q&A with Vena, The Digital Economy: What Happens Next?

Read More

There’s more: Read the full story at Thought Catalog

By Porter Ander­son

Writing on the Ether: 10 Bounces Of A Moving Target: Publishing Goes Mobile

Originally published by Thought Catalog at www.ThoughtCatalog.com


PubSenseSummit 2015 banner


IfBookThen banner


LBF banner general 2015 dated

2015 Digital Minds banner

640 x 203

Banner from new site
640 x 200

Updated #BIA2015 banner

IDPF General Banner 640 x 130

WDC banner

Leave a Reply