E-Book Scenarios Updated is an article looking back at predictions about e-books. E-books didn’t take off the way the author expected – we don’t all have readers in our pockets. He does however see some clear trends: Use, Not Read; Aggregations, Not Single Works; Instutional Customers, Not Individuals; and Subscription Pricing, Not Transactional.
Here are the “four clear trends”:
ï Use, Not ReadóBooks that you consult or read in short sections are more suitable as e-books than those that you read at length. The technical limitations and inconveniences of e-books are tolerable when you’re only reading a few pages. Thus texts, manuals, and reference books, which you use rather than read, work best as e-books.
ï Aggregations, Not Single WorksóIn a reference collection, bigger is better; a collection of e-books, which can be searched as a single database, is far better for reference than one book.
ï Institutional Customers, Not IndividualsóAs with other types of proprietary online content, most people obtain access to e-book collections through institutions, especially libraries. Several e-book products have subscriptions for individuals, but the real action is in selling to libraries and corporations, which can deliver big customer numbers.
ï Subscription Pricing, Not TransactionalóThe growth of the previous trend owes much to flat-rate subscription pricing becoming the norm for e-books. Transactional pricing, in whatever form, is no longer acceptable in most institutional buying.