eBook Readers and Standards, where to next? webinar summary

I attended the eBook Readers and Standards, where to next? webinar today.  My notes (done real time, please excuse typos) are below.

Speakers:  SarahRotman Epps, Forrester Analyst and Michael Smith, IDPF Executive Director

Sarah Rotman Epps comments:

  • this is an emerging market, we must remain flexible
  • digital reading is much bigger than dedicated reading devices
  • were seeing a shift in consumer behavior – they are starting to realize that reading books digitally can be a good experience and are becoming much more aware of the devices.
  • 37% (2008) to 17% (2009) – survey results of consumers who have never heard of an ereader or ebook device, the number is dropping, which is good
  • this (digital reading) should occur across multiple devices and platforms (apps, readers, smartphones)
  • as devices grow, so does the sale of content
  • 2010 – sales of devices should double
  • we should see more dual screen devices, devices that don’t use e-ink, more flexible ereaders (rollable, touch screens, screen sizes, color, video) and more equipped smartphones in 2010
  • 2007 is to ereaders what 2001 was to mp3 players
  • current use of ebooks across platforms- people are expressing interest in reading ebooks on desktops (19%)  laptops (18%)  device (14%) netbook (11%)  phone/PDA (5%)
  • 50% want to read books on devices over 36% magazines, 33% newspapers, 24% textbooks
  • mobile use is big and growing
  • publishers should stay device agnostic and should make sure their content is reflowable and looks good on any device, can sync content from multiple sources, and content can be shared with friends
  • For more info see the Forrester report, July 2008 “The State of Consumers and Technology: Benchmark 2008″and a forthcoming Forrester report – North American Technographics Media and Advertising online survey

Comments from Michael Smith, IDPF

  • 53.5 million wholesale sales – 2008, 2009 first 2 quarters have already surpassed the entire year of 2008
  • we should see “hockey stick” growth
  • growth due to influx of readers in the market along with prices coming down
  • about 23 ereader devices can read the DRM books via Adobe digital editions platform, about 9 readers can read DRM free EPUB only.
  • what is essential for the pervasive adoption of EPUB? – 1. publisher adoption will lead to a critical mass, 2. need consumer adoption,  3. continuous improvements and evolution of the standard
  • not a matter of IF, how long before EPUB becomes the dominant format and preferred standard? – it has received support from numerous stakeholders, there will be continued worldwide adoption, use of EPUB format will become more prominent in STM and higher Ed publishers, growth in libraries, the adoption in the format will be a factor in the rise of accessible titles
  • maintenance group will be in place in early 2010