eBooks vs eMagazines

I have enjoyed various forms of eBooks since the early 90s (when they were sold on floppies…). But it is not until April this year I have started to really see eBooks and eMagazines replacing some of my boos and magazines in my ever growing piles of things to read.

The reason for this is of course my iPad. It is a delight to use, not only because of its wonderful screen, but because of two features that are not so often mentioned:
1. It start up in half a second. This is changing my behavior a a lot.
2. The form of the iPad makes it usefull in all sorts of “laidback” reading positions, in the arm chair, in the TV sofa, in the bed etc.

Since I have worked since the 80s producing interactive “multimedia” I really like the rapid development of eMagazines and eBooks now. For example embedded videos, animations and various forms of user interactivity.

I have bought and read a number of eMagazines and eBooks and to my surprise I now begin to feel that I enjoy the eBooks more than the eMagazines. I have read both crime novels and business eBooks bought from Amazon’s Kindle app and from Apple’s iBook store.

I find eBook reading on the iPad to be a better experience than reading most physical text books:

  1. It is much faster and easier to buy an eBook.
  2. I can read my eBooks on my computer, my iPad and my iPhone, and the reader software always directs me to the place in the book where I was the last time, independent of which device I used.
  3. I can highlight text, make bookmarks and write notes etc, just like in a physical book, something I always do for my learning.

eMagazines are now appearing in many flavors and I really like this development. But it feels like we are bnow seeing just the frist wave and that there will be a lot of further development needed befor eMags will seriously compete with paper mags.

I wrote about my first impressions of eMagazines in my post “iPad Media apps; CD-ROM revisited, where I complained about the lack of social functions like being able to share articles, make notes, interact with the ads etc.

Now I have spent many hours reading dozens of eMagazine titles, and I still miss all those functions. But also, I still don’t feel as comfortable reading eMags as I do reading eBooks.

I feel that  my vision of the beautiful magazine layout is hindered by looking at it on the iPad screen. The image is sharp and bright, but I have to scroll a lot and I don’t have the overall view that I have with a paper magazine. It is not just that a paper magazine is usually bigger in size than my iPad screen. It is about rapidly turning the paper pages, reading them in any order and get a feeling of how long an article is before reading it.

Am I alone in feeling this? Will I get over it? What do you think?

So I think that we need much more research in user interface design and layout for devices like the iPad before the eMagazine market will really take off. I am convinced that all magazine publishers are now working to address those issues and I really look forward to reading the second generation eMagazines.

Hopefully they will look more like Bonnier’s promising Skiing Interactive concept, which is much more active, lean forward type, scheduled for launch in October 2010. It will be for laptops, hopefully an iPad version will follow.

Enjoy their sneak peak video:

Skiing Interactive Demo Video from Skiing Interactive on Vimeo.

Published by

Henrik Ahlén

I am an eHealth Strategist in Stockholm, Sweden I drive eHealth development projects from needs analysis and idea generation to service design and implementation. See my LinkedIn profile: http://www.linkedin.com/in/mrhenrikahlen

2 thoughts on “eBooks vs eMagazines”

  1. I kinda agree with you with reagrds to e-book and e magazines. i’ve been collecting e-magazines and ebooks now though i don’t own a kindle or ipad. just my trusty laptop.haha

    it’s still better to read the real thing. but e-books and e-mags are really economical!

    if you’re interested visit my website for a cool collection of e-mags!

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