BoSacks: The Profit Prophet: The Lure of the iPad
The Digital-Reader Watering Hole
The iPad is the first successful tablet of many new, digital and e-reading devices on the market or coming out soon. In a way, it is a Darwinian phenomenon of Natural Publishing Selection. The people who will buy these devices will, for the most part, be devoted readers. So, as publishers, here we are in the jungle, lying in wait for paying readers. Why wouldn't we do everything we can to lay out our wares at the digital-reading watering hole where prospective clients are sipping the digital ambrosia? Will our approach be like lions pouncing on little lambs? No! We will still have to present enticing lures known to us as great content. But half the work has already been done—someone else has brought them to the table.
The conditions of your particular title and your current corporate finances will dictate the extent of your participation in the "great tablet migration." Regardless of whether you are in business-to-business, consumer, association or custom publishing, the publishing business' trend lines forecast an eventual predominance of digital distribution. If you have no competition, then there is no hurry, because your readers are already yours. If you have competition, then it is jungle warfare, and the best strategy is usually to take the high ground and let them try to attack you uphill. Regardless of your niche's size, there will be readers for you among the multiple millions of tablet owners. I think we will find that it is a unique collection of literate consumers, with an added incentive for us that they have surplus cash to spend.
The iPad is now another format of information distribution. Print used be the cheapest and, some might say, easiest form of mass communication, but that is no longer the case. Many viable alternatives exist.