One of the great opportunities ahead for ebook authors is the wave of new readers entering the digital book world. These gadget centric-readers are kids and young adults. You know the ones that don’t shy away from a computer screen or the digital world. With their cell phone or ipad in hand, they are going to drive the ebook industry to new heights in the near future.
This wave of new readers is going to create a new wave of authors. These writers are going to write directly to the ebook platform, bypassing the current paper to digital conversion process. This new author will take advantage of the ebook software; adding links, sound, video and multimedia.
This young group of readers will be gamers, Internet surfers and two-thumb typist. They are ready for the ebook experience and the ebook author must deliver.
So what is going to happen?
New devices targeting young kids are starting to appear. Hard plastic, low cost e-readers will start to appear in toy departments with packaged ebooks. They may not have a wireless connection or many keys and you may have to update the content via a USB connection (may assist in parent control) but the inconvenience will be worth the trouble.
New software with more powerful features will be developed. This software will drive the acceptance of ebooks. It will be software that is more than just a text display of an ebook. It will be software that lets the reader interact with the content.
You are starting to see laptop software that makes studying easier and more productive. For example, one of the new tools released recently is NookStudy from Barnes and Noble. This free software download shows great potential. NookStudy is available for your PC or Mac.
Text to speech is a great tool to help kids learn while reading ebooks. We may even want to add children’s voices to the voice characters. Kids will probably accept other kids reading to them rather than a strange adult voice.
Recently I have read about the problem publishers are having converting kids two page layout books. They are using the old school conversion process. Authors and publishers need to think outside the box. Kid’s flipbooks seem to fall into that same category.
One thing we do know is kids have shorter attention spans than the adult novel reader. They need to see ideas and absorb them quickly. The current children authors have the knowledge and skills to pull this off. They just need to learn the new technology and charge forward.
Comics are another great ebook opportunity in the kid’s market. With color and sound they can be a great educational and entertainment media.
Barnes and Noble has a great website for kid’s book that takes advantage of the Color Nook. It’s called NookKids. If you are looking at this market, this is a great place to start your research.
Education will be transformed into a digital world. Along with a new generation of readers, a new generation of ebook authors will appear. Authors who can see the youth market needs and fill that need. I recently blogged about this opportunity, e-Textbooks: How do they stack up against traditional textbooks?
E-textbooks are a great opportunity to improve the quality of education, especially at the lower levels of education.
Ebook Author’s challenge
The children ebook author will write in small screen snapshots They will render their ebooks with colored pictures and enhanced features. The young readers are going to be looking for links like they encounter when they are surfing the net so they need to be included in the content.
One opportunity may be to create a series of short reads that the reader will be coming back for more. Although several of the experiments of serial writing in the adult category have mixed reviews, a well done kid’s series could be a hit with automatic downloads. Who knows, you could have your own Dr. Seuss series going on some day.
One thing for sure, the new ebook author must study the new technology and take advantage of it.
My Crystal Ball
There will always be novels but my crystal ball says that non-fiction will change. Ebooks will not just be a copy of a paper version but an interactive media.
Many ebooks will be written directly to the ebook platform with no paper version.
All players will need to get on board: authors – publishers – bookstores – libraries and education/teachers.
Remember. The kids are coming. You know the gadget-centric generation that will be right at home with e-readers or tablets. These devices will fall right in with their social networking and their cell phones. Just walk through a mall and watch the younger generation. They are all doing something with a digital device. The ebook author must take advantage of this opportunity.
What do you think? How can ebook authors take advantage of this opportunity? Have I left out anything in the kid’s market?
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About the Author: James Moushon
I am a published writer in the electronic document field. Starting over 15 years ago, I helped lead the startup of the electronic forms industry in the creation, conversion and usage of electronic forms by supplying that industry with a continuing source of published literature, software products and training seminars. I worked with over 200 companies and organizations like the IRS, Commerce Clearing House, Nutrilite, UPS, MGM, Sony International and Royal Paper Box with their conversion from paper forms to electronic forms. In 2003 I changed my focus to ebooks and their development. I commented in a recent interview: “The start of the ebook industry as a major publishing method in many ways parallels the start of the acceptance of electronic forms by businesses in the mid 1990’s. Back then major companies controlled the process but with the advent of inexpensive technology (laser printers), the ease of entry and the development of software to drive these devices, the electronic forms industry was formed. Today the ebook reader and new software are driving the startup of the ebook industry.”