iPad as crucial as Kindle for ebooks, says digital book converter

12th Dec 2011 | 17:12

iPad as crucial as Kindle for ebooks, says digital book converter

But content trumps format

The multi-talented iPad was just as essential to the rise of the ebook as the dedicated Kindle e-reader, according to one ebook conversion company.

Jouve, which specialises in converting books to digital formats and is one of only two Apple approved conversion houses for the iBookstore, reckons that both devices were equally important to digital reading's success, despite the low-cost Kindle's specialisation.

When asked which device had greater impact on the take up of ebooks, Jouve President and CEO Pierre-Vincent Debatte said, "I hate to say it, but I'm going to have to sit on the fence regarding this issue."

"I'd have to argue that it's a combination of the two devices which has really spurred on the growth in ebook sales."

Comfy fence

"There was always going to be a tipping point that was reached when affordable tablets, reader and multifunction devices allowed customers to take their whole collection of books with them in one practical device," he continued.

"Sony was one of the early leaders in the ebook world, but the Kindle and the iPad have had a much more recent impact, both in terms of sales and notoriety."

Content with content

What it all comes down to, says Debatte, is content. He thinks manufacturers can put all the digital bells and whistles they like on devices but if the content isn't up to scratch, they won't have a hit on their hands.

"Good content speaks for itself. Of course there are a huge number of potential display options available with ebooks (text size, fonts etc.) that can really improve the reading experience, and there's certainly massive scope for enriched and enhanced content.

"But at the end of the day readers are interested in good content first and foremost: any enhancement has to come as a corollary to that."

And is there a future for the ad-supported ebook which Amazon currently provides in the US but is yet to make its way across the pond?

"People forget that paperbacks very often used to contain print adverts in some markets, and still do in others, so that is certainly a future model. As we've seen from the ad-supported Kindle, readers are happy to tolerate advertising if it does not obstruct their experience of the book."

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