The shift from print business-to-business books to digital versions, whether Kindle, Nook or iBook has been nothing short of astonishing.
Symptomatic of the change is the increasing amount of floor space that Barnes & Noble is devoting to its Nook e-readers. In our Naples store, the Nook retail area takes up almost a quarter of the ground floor book related space, excluding the café and the music section.
Apple’s iPad, as the pioneer in the tablet space, has captured the vast majority of the tablet market so far. But, its price point at $500 and up makes it a bit expensive for what may be a secondary computing device for most people.
Nonetheless, more and more business book readers are using the iPad not just as an e-reader, but as a comprehensive content consumption and creation device. Although, a tablet like the iPad is limited in terms of its virtual keyboard, for example, many of us business users have found extraordinary productivity applications in addition to standard e-mail and calendaring.
Now that the Kindle Fire at $199 and the Nook Tablet at $249 have entered the market just before the Christmas shopping season, we can expect that millions and millions more business users will gravitate toward these very powerful content-centric devices. As one commentator noted: The Kindle Fire offers 80% of the iPad’s capability at 40% of the price.
I believe it’s potentially more important that all three tablet computers offer content in color with the possibility of embedding dynamic content such as slideshows and other kinds of dynamic visual presentations. This means that authors and publishers are no longer cost limited to black and white text and images, as they are in hardback or paperback books.
Tablet devices will enable authors and publishers to offer much richer content that benefits both readers and authors. Readers will link out frequently to consume more great content from websites, blogs, YouTube, Slideshare, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
The fact that you can link out to all that additional content from every e-book on the very device that you’re using makes the Kindle fire, Nook Tablet, iBook–and all of the e-book applications on the iPad–irresistible as a primary reading vehicle.
Does this mean that print books will disappear anytime soon? No, but I believe it does mean that virtually all of future book sales growth will come from e-books. And, the new Kindle Fire and Nook Tablet will dramatically accelerate the acceptance and use of e-book versions of business-to-business titles.