I’ve longed for books to go digital for some time, despite my love for a good, fat, thick-paged novel in hand. And while Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices have helped revolutionize the printing industry overall, the real metamorphosis has just begun. Borders’ latest ebook store, available on the iPhone, Android and other electronic devices, has taken another step towards the transformation (get it here).
The free app, called Borders eBooks, launches with 1.5 million titles available for on-demand download and reading. Powered by Kobo, the Borders app is a quick and dirty way for the retailer to get into the digital market. An interesting tactic, to say the least. One we wish other retailers would consider as well. But it’s only a first move for Borders, as they’re likely to delve deeper into the digital realm with more integrated features and a more dedicated app. From ZDNet,
“…several file formats are available including ePub and PDF. Not only that, but if you want some e-books but no e-reader, never fear because Borders already has you covered. You can pick up a Kobo, Aluratek Libre, or a Sony Touch or Pocket reader directly from the site.”
The fact that the digital publishing sector is still young and has a lot of things to figure out, Borders may be in a pretty good position for watching the market and planning the best route for directly accessing consumers. While manufacturers, publishers and consumers struggle to figure out the best way to actually receive and read digital content, emerging technology and networks make it an almost impossible task.
Already, the digital publishing industry has been heavily influenced by Apple, new distribution methods brought about by tablets, and market-owning campaigns from the likes of Amazon. Apple’s release of the iPad helped push that trend along, starting a price war amongst ebook readers, eventually pulling in Sony too. All the while, the need to dominate as much of the digital publishing market has driven Amazon to take initiative with its own reader, including a patent for a dual-screen.
On the flip side, others that were later to the game have taken a step back to reassess the best method of attack, recognizing the heightened competition that’s poured in over the last six months. We saw a similar retreat with the release of the iPad, though manufacturers’ promises around consumer and business tablets have quickly rebounded.
In all, it’s clear that digital publishing has reached the point of no return, despite it taking longer to speed read on tablets versus printed paper (that will change, you know). Tablets continue to have a huge impact on the development and business models around the new wave of publishing, while smartphones have provided the level of access and personalization needed to actually make this dream of mine come true.