The number one challenge we hear from both publishers and technology companies is the need to create a market for the new kind of digital reading. So how can we do that?
Who is the content’s target audience, and how will they relate to the new reading experience? In our pre-research, we defined the target group as young adults, 17 years old and up. From various conversations we had and published researches, it appears that the need for attracting young adults to read is indeed essential, but the immidiate target-group might be a bit older. The vast majority of reading devices owners are 35 years old and older. In the past few years, they got used to a digital platform and in general read more. For establishing the platform, they might be the first ones to join.
Our intention with the new reading platform is more than increasing profit for books makers and resellers. We are interested that people will read more. To do so, we believe they need not single reading items but a reading environment. Both Amazon and bol.com origin in book sales and by focusing on the technology grew to become all-sales corporations. When book lovers talk about books stores, they usually do not have a shopping mall in mind. They imagine a store filled with reading content in various shapes and sectors, vivid colours and scent of paper. They envision a salesperson who read at least half of the books in the shop, who can give detailed recommendations and add some extra information to their request. This is much more the experience we wish to create for the digital platform.
The new digital reading experience will not be able to supply the weight of the paper or the smell of glue, but in our vision, it will aspire to bring back the best features of great bookstores – knowledge, alternatives, creative experiences. It will allow asking questions, searching, exposing to new, unfamiliar territories. It will be a place for reading lovers to feel at home, to have the support of a place who appreciates readers, not just customers.
In the next phase, we will define the best technical and design ways to create this reading environment to follow the vision.
The digital arena allows with much ease two functions that are more complicated to achieve with print: multi-languages content and international distribution.
In the next phase, we would explore some content in several languages to define the best methods in the guide for the new digital reading experience.
Multiple Small Steps.
From our research, it appears that each publisher on their own is struggling to make such large scale changes. While every publisher specialises in their own field, we wish the library to be a shared platform for content from multiple publishers. A shared platform will enable publishers to carefully select their suitable content for the new digital reading experience and build it up with few materials at a time.
In our next phase, we would like to collaborate with a few different publishers to start creating pilots for the new digital reading experience.
Small or large – every publisher has an existing market. Publishers know their readers’ circle and keep contact with them on many levels – newsletters, reading evenings, guided tours and more. If publishers participating in the new digital platform will bring their readers to try out the new experience, readers will enjoy exposure to more content, and the circle of readers for each publishing can potentially grow.
Our next step will be to get more publishers to take part in the pilot’s phase. We believe collaboration is the key to success for changing the digital reading experience.
The new digital experience market does not need to be built from scratch. In the past ten years, readers got much more used to digital reading and publishers has gained experience in digital marketing. Therefore, the (new) market can be seen more like an expanding of the existing one rather than a brand new crowd.
The next phase will be writing a coherent marketing plan for the platform.