Kindle, NOOK put more media in front of consumers

Recent news from two leading e-reader manufacturers shows why businesses seeking press exposure need to consider both traditional print sources as well as emerging online media.

Amazon.com announced that it will begin offering “Kindle singles,” works that have traditionally been too long for feature magazine articles (less than 10,000 words) but too short for full-length books (more than 50,000 words). Amazon says these 30-90 page pamphlets will fill a traditional print publishing void for ideas, concepts or stories that merit more length or shelf life than a magazine article, but may not contain enough text to fill out an entire book of 200 pages or more.

This format seems ideal for companies who wish to produce detailed white papers, in-depth sales brochures, or annual reports. Writers of both fiction and non-fiction who may not wish to tackle a full-length novel may also choose the new Kindle singles format and opt to publish their work digitally. In any case, the Kindle single is a great example of how the flexible boundaries of digital publishing and distribution can move beyond the limitations of print media.

Amazon.com’s chief e-reader competitor, Barnes and Noble, announced its second-generation e-reader, the NOOKcolor. In addition to being an Android tablet with a color LCD screen, the NOOKcolor also opens up even more publications to users than does its original NOOK. Customers can now subscribe to 64 magazines, including National Geographic, the New Yorker, Harvard Business Review, Barron’s and the Christian Science Monitor, as well as 24 newspapers, including USAToday, the Financial Times and the Wall Street Journal. All of these publications are downloaded daily to the user’s NOOKcolor and are displayed in full color. Unlike the iPad, which offers similar newspaper and magazine reading capabilities, the nookCOLOR is half the price ($249) and does not require the user to download multiple apps. A pad that is custom-made for readers, the nookCOLOR puts a wealth of media content at the user’s fingertips.

So, while print outlets are still a strong and viable outlet for companies that wish to gain editorial coverage and position themselves as thought leaders, these new emerging formats can’t be ignored as more and more readers opt for silicon and plastic over paper and bookbinder’s glue.

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