Though hardly the “Jesus tablet” it was purported to be, the new Apple iPad offers game-changing, possibly industry-saving opportunities in paginated media, according to Tuesday’s mediaIDEAS webinar “Blowing Away the Hype: What Is Your Future, iPad or E-readers?”
David Renard, mediaIDEAS analyst, pointed out the critical design flaws in the product, including poor readability, limited size, and short battery life, but nevertheless called the iPad launch a “call to action” that requires corporate strategizing and investment from the highest levels of management to address the potential of iPad-compatible brand extensions, which are what he called “the key to the future of publishing.”
For book publishers, the problems of luring customers to long-term reading experiences on an iPad screen might be offset by making books into full-color multimedia experiences, revolutionizing the content. Renard also predicted the rebirth of micropayments, the once-hyped payment method of the 90s that flopped in broader Internet applications but has been the financial engine behind iTunes. With micropayments, magazine companies may finally make more from circulation than from ads, Renard said. And with minimal setup costs for iPad media, he foresaw immediate ROIs.
Though the magazine publishing industry has aggressively pursued iPad adaptations of their content, the book publishing industry has not embraced the new e-reader entrant as enthusiastically. It remains to be seen if Renard’s “call to action” will indeed reinvigorate a troubled publishing environment.