EPUB 3: A Foundation For the Future
What are you learning from what other markets are doing?
Digital comics have kind of been sneaking up as a market area in the U.S. In Japan manga is 40% of the total book business. It's very different in the U.S. If you go to Random House and ask about comics they're like, "Ah, whatever." But if you go to Kodansha, the equivalent of Random House in Japan, they're getting half their revenue from comics. It kind of changes your view because they see it not just as a separate silo, but a core part of the book business. In the U.S. Marvel Comics and Random House don't even think of themselves as in the same field of publishing.
How could the comics industry have an impact on book publishers?
The comics guys think a little more creatively about enhancing the experience, because for them it's kind of old hat. Most book publishers in the U.S. are just thinking about, "Well I got this print stuff, how do I get it out on phone or tablet?" And the comics guys are going beyond that to, "How do I create tailored experiences for tablets and phones and what is the range of possibilities from a user experience perspective?" It's being informed more by game development, while thinking about it from a content-centric point of view. So I think comics guys are at an interesting point.
What do you see on the horizon for publishers in the digital era?
The nature of the content being delivered in digital is going to be changed by the affordances the tables and smartphones offer versus the paper world, and I think we're just at the beginning of exploring what that means. For a novel, I don't think it means much. You can move a novel from print to digital without having to think much about it because it's just words and the consumer can adopt it pretty easily because they know what they're getting. It's kind of like moving from tape to CD. It doesn't really change the experience.
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Denis Wilson was previously content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzed and reported on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aimed to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.