How Ebooks Are Changing the Way We Read

shutterstock_243590293“With the coming of ebooks,” writes Paul Mason in The Guardian, “the world of the physical book, read so many times that your imagination can ‘inhabit’ individual pages, is dying.”

One of the key ways that ebooks have shifted our reading habits is that they have helped to shorten our attention spans. Moreover, for many people, especially younger folk, ebooks are read on cell phones, where they are in constant competition with messaging apps, movies, games and music.

A reader’s attention is up for grabs, and the ability to hook it in quickly is critical. To that end, some authors’ writing styles have evolved to reflect this trend.

For Mason, though, this all ultimately comes down to the reader’s need, or lack thereof, to be immersed:

“Pre-digital people had a single ‘self’ and they hauled its sorry ass through the pages of the literary canon in the hope that it would come out better,” Mason writes. “Digital people have multiple selves, and so what they are doing with an immersive story is more provisional and temporary.”

Much more.

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Content Containers and User Experience (Joe Wikert)
Joe Wikert sees immense changes on the horizon for how we discover and consume content. As books, newspapers and magazines are being redefined digitally, “we’ll see more blurred lines here. One format will bleed into others and the edges around them will become less rigid.” Moreover, “the lenses through which we read content are going to change dramatically.”

Amazon and Product Discovery (Re/code)
“The vast majority of what is bought on Amazon is premeditated,” said one former Amazon executive. “But if nobody has ever heard of your product, they’re not likely to discover it on Amazon.” The company, however, is trying to change that, according to Re/code, with a bunch of new initiatives in the works that are dependent on product discovery, not simply demand fulfillment.

Startups Capitalize on Self-Publishing (Financial Times)
AuthorEarnings estimates that self-publishing accounts for 38 percent of ebooks sold on Amazon and generated $459 million in ebook sales in 2014. And with a growing market of self-publishers, the need for help at all stages of the process—editing, design, marketing, etc.—is growing, as well. The Financial Times gives a solid rundown of some of the young startups taking advantage of this burgeoning market.

Spain’s Odilo Expanding Globally (Publishing Perspectives)
Operating in six countries, including the US, and with plans to expand in the next year, Madrid-based Odilo is “positioning itself as an alternative to services such as Overdrive,” according to Publishing Perspectives. The company is currently offering 300,000 ebooks from major Spanish and English publishers, as well as titles in Italian, Chinese and Russian. Odilo is also expanding its North American operations, and, according to its CEO, is “especially effective for libraries that are interested in adding foreign language content, but are not sure if their patrons will check out the books,” as libraries only pay for what gets checked out.

Audible to Sponsor 2015 Los Angeles Podcast Festival (Examiner)
The Los Angeles Podcast Festival announced that Audible will be its premier sponsor for 2015. “Audible Presents The 2015 Los Angeles Podcast Festival” will take place in September in Beverly Hills, California, and will feature more than 35 live podcast recordings. The Digital Reader poses the question: “Do you think this is a sign that they want to get into producing original work or is this just another way to raise their profile?”


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