FEATURE: eReaders take publishing to the next level

Information dissemination is changing by the minute, with one of the greatest advancements in technology the introduction of eReaders. Originally exclusive to the west, it is only recently that they have burst onto the scene in Africa.

Kobo Books, one of the biggest eReader platforms whose reading apps resonate across mobile platforms such as Android, iPad and iPhone, Mac and PC, recently announced it now has over 12 million readers using its tablet and apps. Kobo also announced its introduction into emerging markets such as South Africa.

“In December we celebrated Kobo’s third anniversary as well as the biggest month for the company yet,” said Kobo CEO Michael Serbinis.

“Millions of new users registered with Kobo in December alone, annual device sales soared with millions of Kobo eReaders bought, and eBook sales nearly doubled from the previous year. 2012 was truly outstanding for our company and our network of booksellers and retailers around the world.”

Africa is embracing the various tablets and smartphones as an eReading platform rather than embracing strict eReaders like the Kindle and the Nook, showing a shift from the developing world.

Kytabu is a novel idea that aims to introduce eReaders in primary schools while offering textbooks for rent or sale on the platform. The organisation estimates that it will cut down on costs for textbooks by up to 60 percent without compromising on the quality.

Although the project has not yet taken off, more tablets are flooding the market. HCL Infosystems from India has announced its intention to enter the African market with low-priced tablets from US$109.

Publishers have to respond to this new wave of technology, as it is cheaper to administer in the long run. Publishing spaces such as Graphicly and Issuu have opened up paid and free spaces for publishing.

“We are seeing tremendous international opportunity to bring eReading to new markets, and help transform the industry through technology innovation,” said Wayne White, EVP and GM of Devices, Kobo.

“The transition from print to digital, the evolution of devices, the application of technologies, and the market adoption of eReading around world is in its infancy,” he added.

Posted in: Gadgets

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