Our first contributor is friend-of-the-blog Ron Vitale. Thanks for writing, Ron!
For decades, people have been glued to their television screens sitting down watching endless hours of content (many of which turn your brain to mush). But a new study from ReadItLater has data showing that people are using their iPads during prime time TV watching hours. Here is the take home message from the report: "When a reader is given a choice about how to consume their content, a major shift in behavior occurs. They no longer consume the majority of their content during the day, on their computer. Instead they shift that content to prime time and onto a device better suited for consumption."
What I find interesting about this is that owners of the iPad are using the device to pull up books or webpages and read. I would have thought that people would be streaming Netflix to the devices or renting TV shows in iTunes, but according to the data from ReadItLater many iPad users are pulling up content to read from the hours of 7 p.m. - 11 p.m. As the devices we can purchase are becoming more mobile and conducive for readers, our choices for where we will read are beginning to change. I've not had the opportunity to use an iPad for an extended amount of time, but I have tried the Kindle reader app on the Droid X and the iPhone. I've not found the reading experience to be enjoyable as the screen is too bright (no matter how much I turn the light level on the devices down). Interestingly, I have tried a Kindle and I did enjoy the feel of the device in my hand and the brightness (or lack of it). After staring at a computer screen all day, coming home and reading on a bright device isn't what I am looking forward to--though I'm writing this on my laptop during prime time TV hours.
I'm an early adopter, but we haven't seen maturity come to the iPads and the iPhones yet. I suspect that as these devices become ever more popular (who would have thought that more than 47 million iPads would be sold since April 2010? Though a new Mashable article says 15 million.) the equipment will become better as technological advances become cheaper as more devices are mass produced. Rumor has it that Steve Jobs has ordered 65 million iPads for 2011. So within a year or two there will be more than 100 million people using iPads. What will they be reading? Will it be one of your books? Now, more than ever, I believe it's essential for writers to embrace the time and produce content for the web. No matter if it is with blogs, audio books or Kindle and digital versions of their novels or story collections, readers are clamoring for content and they're reading it during prime time hours.
I'm curious to see what the future will bring, but I suspect that we're seeing the way being paved before our eyes. Add up the numbers, project out for the next few years and--there's your audience. Will your work be available for them to read?
Ron Vitale was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Influenced by the likes of Tolkien, Asimov, and the British sci-fi television series "Doctor Who," he began writing at an early age, creating short fiction from his early Dungeons & Dragons role-playing sessions. He has grown to become an accomplished author of science fiction and fantasy. His published books include the short story collecton "The Jovian Gate Chronicles" and "Dorothea's Song." His website and full publishing credits can be found at RonVitale.com.