Digital Directions: Want to Grow Your Ebook Revenue?
● Will the value delivered and quality of experience of an e–book be considered equivalent to the print experience, or viewed as a low-cost, ancillary experience?
The answers to these questions will not be determined solely by the disposition of the marketplace but to a large degree will be driven by the actions of publishers. Great product revenue is often driven by great product experiences. And it is up to publishers—both individually and in aggregate—to pave the way to compelling e–book product experiences, which in turn will lead to increased revenue opportunities.
As the recent survey data has attested, some customer segments perceive the value and quality of the e–book to be of a sufficient level to be nominally salable. However, one would be hard pressed to make the case that, apart from a factor of convenience, the e–book experience is on average of the same level as the print product. In most cases, it clearly is not. This supports the argument that the price point of e–books should be kept low, since it is clearly a secondary product.
Some of the challenges in quality of e–book experience derive from limitations in the ereaders themselves. Apart from being marvelous portable ecommerce devices, ereaders are often limited in terms of creating enjoyable and immersive media experiences. The release of the Kindle Fire and Nook Color, as well as the advent of HTML5 and EPUB3, will improve some of the device limitations.
Beyond issues related to devices, however, other issues remain that compromise the quality of the experience of the e–book. These are issues that are in the domain of the publishers. Performing even a cursory survey of e–books that are commercially available will indicate that the e–book marketplace is rife with quality issues and challenges that undermine the value proposition of the product.