E-Book Trends That Will Change Publishing

From the front lines of the e-book revolution, here are five trends Philip Ruppel, president of McGraw-Hill Professional, is watching.

1. Enhanced E-Books Are Coming and Will Only Get Better
Consumers have already shown that they love e-books for their convenience and accessibility, but ultimately most e-books today are the same as print, just in digital form. Publishers are already conjuring up designs for the enhanced e-book of the future. Imagine still: If you miss five questions on your geometry test, will your book adapt and change to help you learn the questions and concepts you missed? Will your new novel provide a platform for live exchange with reading groups where you can discuss the book with the author? Today’s enhanced e-books that feature talking heads or out-takes from movies are yesterday’s ideas. Consumers will expect a much greater experience.

2. The Device War Is Nearly Over
Devices are proliferating to the point of confusion. Does a consumer buy a Nook, Kindle, Sony e-reader, an iLex or any one of 20 other dedicated e-readers? Or do they buy an iPad, Galaxy Tab, or other Android (Android) tablet? Or do they buy an e-reader at all? Have you ever noticed on a crowded train or bus how many people are reading their phone? And for a growing number of readers, the mobile phone is fine for reading just about anything. But as far as devices go, consumer confusion is likely to drive quick consolidation around a few winners in the market – no one wants to own the next “Betamax for books.”

3. The $9.99 E-Book Won’t Last Forever
Amazon popularized the $9.99 price point for best-seller trade titles, driving the widespread consumer adoption of the Kindle and consumption of e-books. This has caused confusion among many consumers who simply think every e-book should be $9.99 or less. But the majority of titles offered on Amazon are priced above $9.99, especially those with unique interactive features. For professional and technical publishers like McGraw-Hill, our e-books cannot stand the low, mass market pricing some consumers think should be applied to every e-book.

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