Content: Narrative, Learning and Illustration

Source: Digital Book World website, Jan 2013

The narrative industry produces stories delivered as written words. This encompasses more than just fiction, including a wide swath of non-fiction as well. Any book that is intended to be read for enjoyment from start to finish and is primarily non-graphical is a product of the narrative industry. The narrative industry is moving inexorably away from print to ebooks.

the learning industry, i.e. textbooks, how-to books, and other books that we buy to teach ourselves rather than to entertain ourselves. The products of this industry are ill-suited to ebooks and benefit enormously from the interactivity that is achieved by self-contained apps or the web.

The key for the learning industry is being able to deliver incrementally whether that’s through the lean publishing approach or self-updating content. That tips the balance towards subscription models and competition with online training such as that offered by companies like Pluralsight.

Tracking the transition to digital in the learning industry will be a lot harder than with the narrative industry. Revenue and “eyeballs” will diffuse into areas that aren’t even considered part of the publishing industry.

the illustration industry, the folks who talk with pictures. Until very recently, there was no device that was an adequate substitute for a kid’s book, a comic book, or a coffee table book. With the advent of the “Retina” level displays, that is starting to change. We are at the very beginning of the digital transition for the illustration industry. Lower resolution, text denser segments, like comic books and some graphic novels, will move to the ebook space. We are already seeing much of what would have been children’s books move to apps. The really high-end illustrated books will remain print products for a long time to come for a variety of technical reasons.

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