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How Mobile Consumers Use Their Devices Around the Globe

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Back in February, Nielsen issued a report on how mobile consumers connect around the globe. The report examined mobile consumer behavior, device preference, and usage in Australia, Brazil, China, India, Italy, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, the U.K., and the U.S. Here are some findings from the report.

What type of devices do we use?


What device type do we use?


 Nielsen_Legend  Nielsen_Smartphone Device preference is evolving, as smartphone penetration continues to grow in most markets, especially in developed markets with widespread 3G/4G access.

In the U.S. and South Korea, for example, smartphone owners now make up the majority of mobile consumers. And in many markets this increased penetration is being led by a new generation of young adults eager to embrace smartphone technology.

Comparatively, in growing economies like India and Turkey, a growing group of mobile phone users prefer feature phones over other device options (80% and 61%, respectively).


Which apps do we use?’


Which apps do we use?


 Nielsen_Legend  Nielsen_GamesNielsen_Social_Networking Nielsen_Video_MoviesNielsen_NewsNielsen_MapsNielsen_WeatherNielsen_BankingNielsen_ShoppingNielsen_Productivity Smartphone owners tend to gravitate toward games and social networks, though the level of activity varies depending on the market.

For example, smartphone owners in the U.S. were most likely to watch video and use maps/navigation apps, while Chinese users were more likely to access news and weather updates via their mobile apps.

More than half of smartphone users in South Korea regularly use their devices for mobile banking, compared with 22% in Italy.

Source: The Nielsen Company Newswire

Enhanced eBooks are as complex as printed books

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Enhanced eBooks and apps aren’t simple, natural extensions of their printed counterparts. They require a great deal of careful planning, due to differences in eReader capabilities and implementations, as well as complexities of the original publication. In today’s “eBook 102: From Print to Enhanced eBooks and Apps” webinar, Digital Book World gave an excellent look at the development and production process from print to enhanced eBooks and apps.

Here’s a summary of what primary speaker Eric Freese, Solutions Architect at Aptara, said:

  •  Myths
    • eBooks are simple extension of books
    • eBooks do not require planning
    • Make it look like a book is sufficient conversion instruction
  • Selecting the material
    • Source material
      • Is it appropriate for eBook?
      • Who is audience?
        • What devices do they use?
        • What are their expectations?
        • Limited by functions of the devices?
      • eBook vs. app?
      • Is there additional content or material or media at your disposal?
      • Longevity? How often it will be updated?
      • Language? What does device handle if in multinational environment?
    • Evaluating enhancement options: how do you handle these?
      • Finding: TOC, index (could be color coded [if device supports in] and should link to content)
      • Navigation: TOC, index, footnotes (inline vs back of book) (enhance index entry to give more information to help decide if they want to go there), using graphics for text (that don’t readjust size) vs. text that readjusts to reader size
      • Appearance: color, flow, layout, fonts (love of the look of the page needs to be relinquished)
      • Additional content: illustrations, audio, visual, external links
      • Interactivity: testing ability within book, hooking to social media, geospatial enhancement
      • Standards: they support items but devices don’t implement the standards
  • Devising eBook/app strategy
    • Ask same design and layout questions as a printed book (reflow and rotate add a whole new dimension)
    • Determine enhancements based on target audiences/devices
    • Establish test plans and parameters: test against targeted devices; consider degradation impact
    • Always plan for accessibility: while eReaders are a boon to sight-impaired, accessibility impacts everyone
    • Can only use one CSS in current ePub standard (future spec to allow more than one?)
    • Ensure workflow includes all departments involved in book process, which should include eBook ideas at same time as print book is being designed
  • Conversions
    • Easiest to convert is XML
    • Application files are next easiest
    • PDF is not as easy depending upon how built
    • Going from paper is hardest
  • Tools that will do “same as ePub”
    • Apple Pages
    • InDesign (CS5)
    • Word (coming?)
    • Google Docs (coming?)
  • Enhancements
    • What will grayscale do to color?
    • Placement of graphics
    • Ability to zoom
    • SVG (resizes along with text)
    • Use ALT attributes on images with meaningful descriptions for accessibility
    • Audio, using MP3
    • Video, using MP4
    • Large TOCS, but can be problematic
    • Always make sure reader can get back to they started on links
    • Indexes need most information possible to help reader decide if they really want to go there, since back button is only way back
    • Some eReaders won’t start MP3
    • Audio and video dramatically increase eBook file size
    • Linked (vs. embedded) audio or visual files are iffy, since they requires internet connection
  • Taking different eReader capabilities into account
    • Graceful degradation:
      • Pros
        • Single file with all info works across multiple devices
        • Reduced configuration management demands
      • Cons
        • Large files
        • Additional complexity
        • Reduced nimbleness
    • Device-specific version
      • Single file works on single device
      • Nimble
      • Reduces file bloat
      • But needs separate ISBNs for all of those versions
      • More complex configuration management
  • Case study: World English Bible
    • Can download variations of full Bible & sample set at:
    • See README for more details about what’s in the directory
    • Files named based on what is enabled, for example:
    • Files on ftp for about 60 days
  • HTML5
    • Not officially part of current ePub spec
    • ePub Check will flag as error
    • Next version (3) will include?
  • Good practices
    • No hidden text
    • Bidirectional footnotes
    • TOC
    • Some external links
    • Images

You can find the on-demand webinar on the Digital Book World archives.

Written by Larry S. Bonura

3 November 2010 at 08:34

eBooks vs. Apps: The Pros, Cons and Possibilities–Webinar Notes

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More than 600 people attended Digital Book World’s webinar on Tuesday, 27 July, “eBooks vs. Apps: The Pros, Cons and Possibilities,” that explored the production and budgetary benefits and pitfalls of developing applications versus enhancing eBooks. The presenters were:

  • Peter Costanzo, Director of Online Marketing, The Perseus Books Group
  • Pablo Defendini, Interactive Producer, Open Road Integrated Media
  • Eric Freese, Solutions Architect, Aptara

My notes from the webinar:

Enhanced eBooks University identified a catalog of 27 types of enhancements for ebooks (from “Enhanced eBooks Today and Tomorrow: A Survey for Authors and Publishers”), some of which include:

  • Media: audio, video, screencasts, animations
  • Enhanced content: covers, annotations, accessible, supplemental
  • Social: sharing, social reading, social networks
  • Device-based: geolocation, accelerometer
  • Interactivity: games, analytics, transmedia

Apps are considered a form of enhanced ebook.

Enhanced ebooks are:

  • Ebooks that go beyond a digital snapshot of a printed books
  • Data files (based on a standard) that can be viewed and processed by a variety of platforms and devices
  • Based data files (non-DRM) are interoperable between devices that support the same standard
  • Dependent on access being provided by target platform

Apps are:

  • Programs written to run on a specific platform, such as, the Kindle for iPad and Kindle for Android are different programs
  • May be based on published materials
  • Interoperability cannot be guaranteed: app written for iPhone will run on iPad, but there are iPad apps that won’t run on iPhone
  • Generally easier access to functionality provided by target platform

Enhanced ebooks vs. apps: side-by-side comparison matrix:

Matrix showing various eBook device enhancement options

Matrix showing various eBook device enhancement options

Enhanced ebooks are:

  • Easier to develop
  • Generally less expensive
  • Endowed with some degree of interoperability
  • Functionally dependent on platform and standards


  • Require custom development expertise
  • Must have access to full functionality of platform
  • Are perceived to be more feature-rich

Enhanced eBook concepts

  • Based on ebook functionality, maintain all the good things about ebooks (reflow, portability, etc.)
  • The EPUB standards supports enhanced ebooks now (many perceived limitations come from eReader implementations, not the standard)
  • Graceful degradation (support new capabilities without abandoning the installed base; give info to reader that they are not able to do something, like not fun Flash or video or whatever; can offer several ways to show and if not)

Sample ebook enhancements (based on use of World English Bible)

  • Collapsible table of contents
    • Allows easier navigation of large content
    • Can be set up in ePub file
    • Displayed controlled by device/software
  • Hidden searchable text: Allows users to search terms that might not occur in the content
  • Internal linking (footnotes/annotations/cross-references/indexes)
    • Bidirectional linking: when you click to go to a link, you can go back to where you were originally linked; stay away from either one character or subscripts or superscripts, which may be hard to actually touch or click
    • Inline footnotes/annotations
      • Allows extra data to be shown inline (formatting can be an issue)
      • Reduces back page confusion
      • Can results in cluttered display
    • Pop-up footnotes
      • Reduces clutter and confusion
      • Uses JavaScript in background
      • Works on eReaders built on browser interface
    • Cross-references (not discussed)
    • Indexes (not discussed)
  • External linking (geolocation/directions/associated websites): Make link to map, for example, which opens a browser in separate window; iBooks prompts user before leaving, which can be annoying
  • Audio
    • HREF method opens new app window
    • HTML5 Audio tag works within reader app (will play clip within reader)
  • Video
    • HREF method opens new app window
    • HTML5 Video tag works within reader app (will play clip within reader)
  • Interactivity
    • Ability to play Flash, for example. Like playing Tic-Tac-Toe vs. the book
    • Slide show of pictures

Enhancement considerations

  • Should be dictated by the content, not vice versa
  • Ebooks, enhanced ebooks and apps should receive the same level of planning as print materials
  • Design for graceful degradation: allows files to work on widest range of devices possible by building in fall-back options
  • Keep finished file sizes in mind
  • Test on all target devices

App development considerations:

  • No “apps for the sake of apps”
  • Separate content from programming as much as possible to capitalize on portability
  • Use open standards whenever possible

Major formats for ebooks (what will deliver best experience for user should be considered; no sweeping strategy at Perseus on a format)

  • ePub
  • Mobi
  • PDF

Major apps for ebooks:

  • Windows
  • Android

ROI: these are still the early days for trying out these pubs and just seeing what can be done; just keep learning and keep progressing.

3 most important things to keep in mind for publishing projects:

  • Know customers & what do they expect
  • What devices, platforms they are using
  • Know content and what’s available and how to enhance for the user