Creating content that’ll be published electronically raises a touchy questions: will people actually want to read it? Truthfully, digital publishing lacks the “curl-up-and-read” coziness of standard print. More so than print, electronic formats are still emerging just as attention spans are narrowing.
It’s proving difficult to design content that is truly engaging for smaller digital formats. Sometimes it feels like a race to the bottom intellectually as nuances and complexities are shaved off, leaving Neanderthal nubs for people to nibble on.
This year, we published our first true e-book designed by these guys to be read on hand-held devices. We learned a lot as we pushed the content across platforms.
Big Lesson: Digital publishing lacks the “flip through” factor
The main lesson we learned is that people are more willing to flip through a print pub than scroll through digital content. Why? Not sure, but my hunch is that it has something to do with ease of sampling. We’ve all done that – picked up a book or magazine and flipped through it quickly to snatch a tidbit or make a decision to commit more time to it later.
Recently, I’ve been noodling around with Flipboard and like how it brings together content from Twitter and Facebook into a magazine format. I have yet to break the spine of the Kindle Fire that enhances the reading experience for e-books. It’s on my list.
Last week, Google offered Google Currents, an app for Apple’s iOS and Google’s Android that lets you curate content you’re curious about and pulls it into a magazine format. Nice!
Technology’s Hidden Barrier to Adoption
The trick is not managing the technical challenge of loading and testing these apps. It’s finding the time to hike the learning curve.
I confess with a red face that I’m way behind on mastering Google+. I just skipped over it and went on to the apps I was really curious about because they help me run my business.
Since we advise clients on how to seed their ideas into communities to speed adoption, Google Currents is highly relevant to me.
As the digital culture evolves, we keep expecting apps to be ubiquitous. Believe me, Google, Microsoft and Apple are banking on a universal use case for every new program or app they create. But that’s not what seems to be happening.
I’d like to argue that the long tail has entered the realm of e-content and that includes apps, epubs and devices. The limiting factor is not personal preference or use case or even access. The big barrier is time.
I have a kitchen timer in the shape of a little pink piggy. It just went off. It’s my new time manager. It’s telling me that I need to end this blog now.