Since the initial move from print to digital, publishers have been using digital to create a better reading experience. We’ve already seen Conde Nast publications, WIRED and Gourmet use digital innovation to create rich, engaging applications on new platforms such as the iPad. While delivering the great content that has come to be expected by their readers, the applications created have taken their content further by integrating the iPad’s touch screen and leveraging streaming video to further capture reader interest. The shift from print to digital is not a duplication process of transferring reading from one platform to another. The most successful transitions have provided a means for users to interact with and share content, hold discussions, make recommendations, and connect with others in a way that wasn’t possible before.
Authors are also experimenting with book applications dedicated to their individual book. Author Stephen Elliott recently released his app, “The Adderall Diaries,” which includes features such as a dedicated discussion board for readers to hold conversations with him and other readers, access to Elliott’s book tour diary, a RSS feed for events and upcoming titles, and an exclusive video interview of Elliott. Besides novels, textbooks have also entered into digital, including Inkling, an e-book software company that provides textbooks on the iPad. Inkling brings diagrams to life, lets users search, highlight, and take notes instantly with the ability to follow note streams of their professors and friends. Inkling’s goal is to provide a more engaging means of education that attracts students and provides authors with an exciting way to present content.
Digital innovations that allow users to interact with written content and each other satisfy the deeper content longings of readers today. Publishers now have to think of print publications as accessible platforms that can transform the couch potato to a person who multitasks. With the constant release of new reading devices such as the NOOKcolor, we definitely see a trend in e-readers becoming tablets and publishers pushing even more engaging options to accompany e-books and applications.