One of the most common words in technology today is the word ‘App’. In layman’s terms an app (application) is a piece of software that can run on the Internet, a computer, a mobile phone or any other electronic device such as a tablet computer.
The demand for digital book apps has risen tremendously, giving publishers and developers fresh ways of expanding their businesses. Today eBooks are the largest category in the Apple app store. The Guardian cites a report from mobile advertising company Mobclix, which identified 27,000 e-book apps, as opposed to 25,400 games. Analysts from RR Bowker say that the probability of a person making a repeat purchase of an eBook is almost as high as 50%.
Even before the launch of the iPad, several publishers were in talks with Apple. While the revolution was mostly lead by media publishers such as the Wall Street Journal and The Times, bringing their newspaper to millions of readers via their customized apps, book publishers too are taking the ‘App’ route. The Kindle app, one of the most popular apps on the app store, gives users access to more that 450,000 titles available for purchase on the Kindle.
Apps come in a variety of forms and prices. An app can serve as a distribution channel / market place or it can serve as an individual product offering. Popular examples of market place apps include the Google market place app, the Nokia ovi app, Blackberry app, or the Kindle and iBookstore apps available on the iPad.
In the future it is likely that apps built by manufactures such as Sony, Apple, Blackberry or Samsung will be made available on all of their devices, be it computers, dedicated eReader devices, or phones. A single app will allow a reader access to an entire eBookshelf that can be accessed from anywhere on any of his devices.
Popular examples of individual app eBook apps are the Alice in Wonderland and the Toy story apps. These stand alone apps provide a highly interactive and engaging iPad book experience. However, these require a publisher to go beyond the iBookstore environment to offer truly dynamic storytelling. Comic book makers such as Disney’s Marvel comics unit released an iPad comic book application that’s free to download from Apple’s App Store. This software lets fans buy digital versions of more than 500 Marvel comic books for $1.99 each. Readers use their fingertips to swipe through the crisply colored replications of the comics’ pages.
The advantages of these apps are that they are alive and can be updated constantly. They also serve as direct links to a customer even after they have been purchased. Activity on the app can be closely monitored thereby building a direct relationship between the publisher and the reader.
In today’s ever evolving market place, reader expectations and desires are constantly increasing. Publishers need to understand the buying behavior and consumption patterns of their readers and develop content to cater to these needs. An app is a blessing in disguise to achieve this. Not only does it help them expand their business models, but also helps them reap useful data regarding their markets which can help them further develop and enhance their product offerings.
Image source: www.mobclix.com