Been thinking a lot about the world of publishing since Steve Jobs announced the iPad. It seems technology may have finally put a product in the market that will truly digitize publishing in ways we never knew possible.
I recall conversations 15 years ago where people were giving the last rites to bookstores, just as the Internet was getting its sea legs. Barnes & Noble and Borders never got seriously hurt, despite the entry of Amazon.com into the conversation.
Speaking of Amazon, the Kindle was released in 2007 and boasts more than 2 million units sold. Game changer? Yes. But bookstores still aren’t hurting.
Apple’s iPad brings a whole new level of interaction with books and data that could finally bring about true digital publishing. Think about interactive textbooks and data. This goes beyond highlighting passages and doodling in the margins.
Nevertheless, I still don’t believe analog books are going anywhere. No matter how many gadgets hit the market, there is still something about a book that can’t be replicated or replaced by technology. Humans are inherently tactile. Though subtle, it’s our tactile nature at work when reading a book. We like to feel the pages, the cover art, the words on the page. We like to connect to a book. Kindles and iPads just can’t replicate that.
What I believe we’ll see in the next few years are analog books with a digital component included. We’ll see college textbooks include interactive software.
And the book publishing industry will roll with these changes and cash in all the way.