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iPad impact felt far and wide
Wednesday, 3rd August 2011
Nancy Davis Kho
How much is the iPad influencing the information industry these days? Just pair up a couple of today's headlines to get a sense of its broad impact across market verticals. According to an article today in paidContent.org, iPad textbook publisher Inkling (www.inkling.com) just raised US$17million in Series B funding from heavyweights like Sequoia Capital and Pearson Education. And just up the page is a story on German news publisher Axel Springer, whose paid consumer content efforts are paying off to the tune of 134,410 daily digital sales per issue on the iPad across its portfolio of titles.
The Inkling announcement ties into Joanna Ptolomey's post last week on textbook rental and the evolution of digital textbooks, as well as Penny Crossland's report on the relatively slow uptake in digitisation in academia as compared to consumer and business publishing. Of course publishers have been producing eTextbooks for some time, but until the device came along that would enable the portability and interactivity that underpin student engagement as well as a physical book does, adoption has been sluggish.
Inkling leverages the iPad's flexibility to completely upend traditional thinking about printed textbooks: as it says on its site, "It’s a flexible, interactive publishing platform where the human is at the centre of the creative process, not the book. Where the iPad is the canvas, not paper. And as people start to grasp the power of the platform, you’re going to see ever more exciting content inside".
The notion of using the iPad to create more exciting ways to interact with content, and expecting people to pay for the privilege, was behind Axel Springer's calculated risk to charge consumers for iPad access to its content starting 18 months ago, and the gamble seems to have paid off. From the company's press release: "More than 54% of DIE WELT’s digital offerings of (9,132 sales per day) and more than 16% of BILD’s digital offerings (17,492 sales per day) are being purchased by users as apps for the tablet PC".
With news about iPad and other tablets so enticing, I sometimes have to remind myself that penetration of these devices is still in the early stages. As noted in the Axel Springer announcement: "Recent studies suggest that the number of tablet PCs in Germany will quadruple, from roughly 2.5 million this year to nearly 10 million by the end of 2014". And according to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, just 8% of Americans owned tablet computers in June 2011.
But as applications and content continue to come together in innovative ways on the iPad and other tablets, look for the devices to continue to shake up the way that content consumers expect to receive and, more importantly, interact with the information around them.
By Nancy Davis Kho
With more than a decade of experience in the product management and business development side of online content, Nancy Davis Kho now writes about the rapidly changing environment of digital content and its implications for business.
Nancy is a frequent contributor to EContent Magazine, Streaming Media, Enterprise Search Sourcebook, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Her website is at www.daviskho.com.
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