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Why Apple Should Thank The Kindle & Nook

So, I just had a chance to try the Nook for the first time at Barnes & Noble, and I have previously used The Kindle, as well as Kindle for the iPhone. Actually, since Kindle came out with their App I have begun reading quite a bit more, since my books are so much more accessible. Well, anyway back to my point at hand the Nook – how haphazard and confusing. Do I press the arrows on the side or use the graphical icons on the touch screen, but I can’t touch the e-ink screen, right? Wow just poor UI development & implementation. But despite the design flaws – as early adopters; what have Amazon & Barnes & Noble done well? They have educated and primed the reading public for what e-books could be, offered us a taste of how accessible and easy it could be to have our favorite newspapers delivered electronically, or to immediatly download a best-seller. Well, if past experiances are anything to go on, then Apple owes the two retailers a huge Thank You. Why? Because they have done a tremendous job in letting the public know what the e-book is and how it works. And while Apple will have forgone any sort of first-mover advantage, when their iBooks store debuts in a few short days, the hard work will have been done and we’ll know what to expect. Further, we can bank on the fact that Apple will bring their signature touch to UI to books, which will ensure an ease of use for just about anyone. Coupled with the versatility of the iPad,...

How Tablets Will Help Communicators

Amidst the latest news of impending tablet like devices, including Apple’s newest creation, lies a new and important path for communications campaigns and the practitioners that coordinate these efforts. First, in terms of the technology, the day of the E-Reader is upon us. Both the Amazon Kindle & the Barnes and Noble Nook experienced extremely successful holiday sales to wrap up 2009. While 2010 is staring off with numerous competitors announcing their own E-Reader efforts at the annual Consumer Electronics show, and mounting speculation as to what Apple will unveil in this space later this week. The growth of this “reader” type of device in an arena already crowded by Notebooks, Netbooks, iPhones, & Blackberries is interesting; and yet it is an evolution of those devices. The e-reader, despite its name, I believe will extend beyond just electronic forms of books. This type of device, when done correctly will allow for easy consumption and navigation of content on a sizeable screen, in a format that is easier on the eyes (no backlight or optional backlight) and unites a variety of content types including audio, video, & text. Specifically, with the web’s maturation we are now observing two different types of internet audiences… the first being the desktop/laptop space in which you interact with the web, collaborate with colleagues and essentially get work done. For most of us, that categorizes the vast majority of our day…but the second audience is more concerned with consuming content that is available online from the comfort of their family room, or along their commute. We saw the early evidence of this type of behavior...

Lessons From Books: In Print, Audio, & On Digital Devices…How it Impacts PR/Marketing

One of my favorite radio bits used to be a promo for the latest way to read books: “Now introducing Books-On-Tape-On-Paper.”  That always made me laugh since it seemed so ridiculous that we had gone so far that the reintroduction of the printed word seemed “new.” However, recently, as I’m in the midst of wrapping up my first e-book, Tom Verducci’s The Yankee Years, I have been thinking about the fact that the printed word really has been re-invented and is symbolic of the overall media shift and fragmentation of audience habits.  It seems so simple but there are actually quite a few different options these days for how you can read the latest novel or biography.  Reading used to be such a simple task; you went to the library or local bookstore, browsed around, and if you chose well, went home with, and enjoyed a page-turner.  It was pretty much a choice between hardcover or paperback; which was often a decision that was made for you based on what was “in-print.” However, in 2009 depending on your preference there are quite a few ways in which you may experience that latest thriller or biography: Are you more of a buy it in hardcover as soon as it’s published type of person? Or do you wait for the paperback version? Do you download and listen to audio books? If so, do you go with abridged or unabridged versions?  Or do you download an e-book to some device, such as the Kindle? Really, who ever thought simply reading a book could be such a complicated endeavor?  That said, there is...

How Amazon & Sirius Teach Us to Be Platform Agnostic

Do you read the paper, or surf to their website, subscribe to an RSS feed?  Do you listen to the radio, or download Podcasts, listen to Slacker, or Satellite?  Is prime-time TV your thing; do you watch on a television, via SlingBox, or do you Hulu? The questions can go on and on, as today’s audiences are increasingly fragmented.  It’s a point I often make during presentations and conversations with clients – today’s audiences are increasingly sophisticated and get their news and information in varied ways.  The translation for communications professionals is that we have to think about communicating differently and in ways that go beyond the traditional methodologies.  That is not to say those aren’t important avenues, because they are clearly still powerful outlets, but today they are just one part of today’s communications landscape.  But increasingly, so are new technologies from audio and video on the web as Podcasts and Webcasts, to desktop widgets, and BlackBerry and iPhone applications; the translation communications and marketing are becoming platform agnostic practices. There are two recent examples, which showcase how content providers are adopting new strategies that are increasingly platform agnostic.  First, Amazon on the heels of releasing the second edition of its Kindle e-book reader, released Kindle for iPhone.  Now, instead of only selling e-books to owners of Amazon’s own hardware they are able to tap into new audiences who own either the Apple iPhone, or the iPod Touch.  Further, this strategy will expand the availability of Amazon’s e-books; generating increased content sales and potential even furthering interest in the Kindle device. Secondly, on the heels of the Sirius/XM...