From the polarization of digital reading only a handful years ago in which readers often split vehemently into two camps—those eager to embrace digital reading and those who swore paper was the only way to read—now the industry is seeing an even more interesting new adoption for digital reading: smartphone reading. With the greater acceptance and growing numbers of people who have adopted reading on a tablet-sized screen, the industry has moved forward to the consumers who demand the portability of having their magazines and newspapers delivered to their smartphones.
GoodeReader spoke to Lynly Schambers-Lenox, a group product marketing manager for Adobe, about the recent McPheters and Company iMonitor State of the App 2012 report, and the details it provided for how publishing trends are moving. The iMonitor report ranked the apps for iPad magazines and half of the top ranking titles were created by Adobe Digital Publishing Suite, including the top five apps that were given a perfect score.
“There are 220 million iPhones in the market compared to the tablets, which is dramatically less. So it’s not surprising to see these publishers starting to put content out on the iPhone because there are just a lot more of them out there. They’re making sure that their content is available whenever and wherever the readers want.”
How are readers actually adapting to moving to reading on their smartphones?
“I think we’re going to see certain kinds of interactivity specific to the phones. I think people are really comfortable with consuming video on their phones, and hyperlinks. Reading on these devices is just getting started and the whole process of how people read is being shaped now, so I think what will be interesting is more along the lines of navigation, how people get from page to page and article to article. People are starting to accept that there is going to be some level of download time.”
Adobe is working around the slower download times for smartphones versus tablets with the introduction of Background Downloading, which allows the publishers to identify which content needs to be focused on in the front-and-center of the download by flagging it when they develop the app, compared to content that can load at a more leisurely pace. This will mitigate the download process for phone reading.
One of the biggest concerns with smartphone publishing affects the advertisers who may take issue with how users interact with digital ads, but as more consumers become accustomed to digital reading, Adobe is working to ensure the advertisers are more confident that their ads will be well-received by smartphone readers.
“I think the advertisers are being very conservative. There have been a couple of things that might have slowed down the advertisers coming back to digital magazines. Digital offers such a rich experience in terms of driving brand recall of propensity to purchase. Until they see numbers, they don’t know 100% if it’s working.”
“The publishers have to know their readers and know what they do and do not want to consume on these devices. There are definitely different reading patterns and behaviors and they will have to be thinking about how they design their content to fit those patterns or behaviors.”