It’s no secret that libraries up and down the country are closing down, and book shops, particularly the independent ones, are having to down size and lay off their staff thanks to poor sales and competition from the big conglomerates and eBook sellers such as Amazon and Apple.
We really are in the digital age, and as fifty years ago we spent our spare time reading poetry and prose, it is becoming more and more common that our spare time is spent watching on demand television and movies, using social media sites, websites and blogs. But this doesn’t mean that reading is no longer our favourite pastime, it just means that the literary world needs to keep up with the digital world, and judging by the latest developments in the eBook industry, it’s certainly doing just that.
In 2012 Apple launched its iBooks 2 store, which offers iPad users interactive textbooks with straight text, animations, videos and photos. Over 25,000 titles were available from the iBookstore when it rolled out this service across the world in January 2014 and is now available in 51 countries including the US, UK, Brazil and Japan.
Including titles from Cambridge University Press as well as Oxford University Press, iBooks 2 is ideal for use in schools and colleges, enabling users to use books in the same way as traditional textbooks, make notes on pages and highlight words, phrases or passages. So while you’re worrying about our emerging generations going through education without touching a single book, the textbooks that we might have been used to are still there, they’re just adapting to change.
What’s more, while iBooks 2 is promoting the continuing use of textbooks for learning, another publishing corporation is ensuring that developing generations are kept engaged with reading and book usage by creating an all-you-can-eat style eBook subscription service which will open children’s eyes to the world of literature.
Epic! Launched at the end of last year with a service that is comparable to Netflix, but with books. Targeted at the children’s market, the $9.99 per month subscription will allow school aged kids to choose from thousands of titles and read as many books as they wish to. Created by publishing partners Simon and Schuster and Open Road Media, all of the available content is age appropriate and curated by leaders in children’s publishing, and even rewards kids for their reading behaviour with badges and medals.
Co-founder of Epic!, Kevin Donahue, explained that his idea for the application stemmed from his own children’s love for playing games and watching videos on their tablets; “I wanted to build a product that would allow children to continue using the devices they love, but engage them in a reading experience.”
If these developments are anything to go by, the world of eBooks is set to go from strength to strength, a good sign for the self-publishing world, that’s for sure!