ebooks: a Golden Opportunity

Bestselling author Jason Pinter argues that publishers are making a huge mistake by marketing eBooks  primarily at readers who already love reading. These readers (you and I, I assume) have learned to relish the experience offered by physical books. Yes, they take up a lot of space, are heavy to lug around, require time and dedication. But we don't just put up with it: we love it! We still buy books, often more than we have time to read. We pile them on our shelves, and when the shelves are full, we heap them on the desk. Or pile them on the floor. For us, there's pleasure in this, maybe even a touch of vanity. So what's the point of selling us eBooks? We're already early adopters!

Now, says Mr. Pinter, think of the people who enjoy a bit of reading once in a while, but to whom it's just not worth the commitment to pounds of papers and acres of shelving. Music was like that once: you had a few friends who spent half of their money and most of their free time on records; the rest were fine with the radio and a couple of "can't miss" records every year.

Then electronic formats came along and things changed for everyone. You could now sample music and buy it on the fly: less commitment, less fuss, more fun. A whole new audience flocked to them.

Why aren't publishers following the same model for eBooks: Putting out content directed at infrequent readers? Since current readers are already fierce consumers, why doesn't the industry focus on a new public?

I agree that eBooks provide the opportunity to broaden the appeal of reading but I don't want to be left alone with printed books either. Yes, I'm that reader, the one with piles of unread books who loves the feel of paper. I'm also one who took the plunge with eBooks. The reason that convinced me, beyond a known weakness for all things gadgetry, still holds: More books!

eBooks provide a golden opportunity for readers to access a greater variety of books and they are the perfect vehicle to reach new readers.

What do you think?


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