I was talking about the iPad with a work colleague the other day. We were chewing over the possibilities, especially for the publishing/media industry. And something occurred to me, beyond the endless multi-media capabilities that ebooks and magazines will have as they're adapted for the iPad and similar devices. This evolution in the way we will consume media ... will also revolutionize the way media products can be marketed.
It's hard to miss all of the 'Facbook Connect' and 'Tweet This' choices now offered when reading articles and blog posts, or watching videos. Now, apply that same capability to a book that will be revamped for the iPad. At the end of the book, instead of just simply offering a hyper link to the author's and publisher's websites, you could be offered an immediate opportunity to become a Facebook Fan ... 'share' how much you love the book with your Facebook Friends ... 'Tweet' to your connections on Twitter a bit.ly link with info about the book (including a link to Amazon to purchase a hardback or other version) and so on.
The possibilities to 'digitally connect' with consumers who've just consumed your book or magazine edition are endless. There's no way you can do this as easily and efficiently with a print edition of a book or magazine. You have to hope a reader decides to boot up their laptop and visits your website, Fan page, Twitter account, etc ... or signs up to your email newsletter. It's far more efficient, and will be far more effective, to offer an immediate opportunity to connect via your preferred digital platform, when you don't have to leave the device you just consumed the product. Picture a Facebook Fan Box right there on the last page of a book, along with author information, an embedded Twitter widget, link to Amazon and so on. Book and magazine (newspaper?? still have my doubts) publishers could (should) enjoy an explosion in viral marketing and digitally connected fans when those fans are consuming via iPads and similar devices. Publishers are wrestling with the best ways to make books 'three demensional' now that the iPad's arrival is imminent. Those same publishers better be thinking how to make it a seamless and simple action and choice for readers to connect, stay connected (future books, hello!), spread the love via social media word of mouth, and make impulse purchases (like a checkout line at the supermarket, with all of that tempting gum and chocolate).
I'll use my wife's children's picture book as an example, I Love You More Than Rainbows. It's available in a Kindle version, but its vibrant images would be far more explosive on an iPad. And as much as an interactive experience would be wonderful for kids and parents alike (birds flying out of trees, questions that would pop up if you scroll over an animal, etc), having a rich digital page at the end with invitations to connect, purchase more, tell others, would be exponentially better than any current marketing capability: "I hope you enjoyed this book! If you did, please become a Fan on Facebook ... and by clicking here you can share your love of this book with your Friends on Facebook (or Twitter), or sign up for the email newsletter. If you'd like to purchase this book as a gift, click here ... or print off this coupon ..."
Savvy publishers ... are you thinking this through yet?