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The history of the book is much longer than that of film or recorded music. At first there were clay tablets and scrolls, followed by manuscripts and the revolution of the printing press. Now we have the newest phase in book technology, the ebook. With it comes stronger resistance from consumers in converting to digital than other forms of media content. But there is no denying that the digital age is here to stay, and therefore so are ebooks. So what major issues stand in the way of improved consumer conversion to ebooks, and what kind of reading experience will dominate the future of e-reading?

Who Prefers the eBook?

Recent surveys by The Guardian showed that 62% of the well-connected selfie generation of 18- to 24-year-olds prefer print over ebooks. People over 55 are much more likely to own an eReader than the 18- to 24-year-old generation. The strongest reasoning for the youngsters preferring print was the physical connection with the book, which no-doubt comes with an emotional attachment and helps build an identity that can be communicated through their bookshelf. However, older generations who are assumedly less concerned with identity building or cramming an already full bookshelf, are embracing the value proposition of the ebook. So then what will get more people across a larger demographic on-board with e-reading?

A “smart” future for E-reading

The selfie generation is characterized by the all-in-one smartphone. They are not jugglers who use a different device for reading than they would socializing, and expect their phones to carry out every task necessary. For this same generation that feels a need for expression through books, the key for success from a business persecutive is to provide optimal social engagement abilities, and a heightened overall ebook experience for smartphones. Unsurprisingly, this is something most generations with on-the-go lifestyles will benefit from – there is too little time for more than one device. In order to secure a happy eFuture, the future of e-reading will be defined by the following.

  • Smartphone Reading: As it is difficult for readers to set aside time for this task alone, it simply becomes ideal to pick up where you left off whenever there is a moment to spare. And because most don’t go anywhere without their smartphones, this is the one device that will shape the future of e-reading. The WSJ states that nearly 54% of ebook buyers reported using smartphones to read at least part of time, a 24% increase from 2012. Technology must catch up to accommodate the expectations of the growing number of smartphone readers. In conclusion the best device to read on is the one you have with you.

the best device to read on is the one you have with you

  • Social Reading: There is nothing better than having just read an amazing book. And the next thing we often do is rave to friends, and loan the book out to those most interested. Social reading is a two-way communication that allows you and your peers to talk and share experiences about books in a similar way. These interactions simulate the print experience, while adding enhanced capabilities. With social reading, users can engage and share opinions with a broader community of people across the globe. They can also provide direct feedback to book publishers and writers through their devices, who then have the capability of making changes quickly and easily.
  • Interactive Reading: Smartphones and tablets are a modern go-to for interactive learning. Touch screens and soundtracks provide instant feedback and gratification for the user. Now ebooks are growing in popularity, providing a similar interactive experience. They often include puzzles, music, and video that surpass the narrative capabilities of traditional reading. Studies show that younger people are more engaged in learning through interactive reading. And enhancements on things like classic tales, where magic and mystery are visualized, hold attention much longer.
  • Reader analytics: The future of e-reading will also mean a new era of analytics. Accessing feedback from consumers is the best driver for positive change, and can provide the most optimized reading experience for consumers. In the future the personal reading experience will be optimized with the use of big data analysis. This means publishers and authors might receive insights into improving the ebook, continuously or through the writing process of a series of ebooks. Publishers and authors can then use this insight to improve content, layouts or even visuals.

Every new technology in the history of books took some adjustment and time to smooth out kinks. Ebooks have now been around long to where the large issues have been fixed, and the focus is on enhancing the user experience. At Pubfront, we are constantly generating new features to implement into eCommerce platforms that improve the experience for both user and business. Ebooks are the future of reading, and we are working to provide the best technology possible to meet the needs of every generation.