Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cell phones as digital readers - Romance readers lead the way

Mp3 players, Kindles, Playways, Sony Readers, iPods, CD players - are they all traveling the same path as the good old cassette player to that great big graveyard of archaic technology? Will the smart cell phone become the default digital reader? I'm placing my bet that we'll have made the transformation to one tech gadget to rule them all in three years or less. And it's not just the young net-gen audiobook & eBook users fueling the transformation.

Ask any public librarian what genre group is among the top eBook & audiobook download, and you'll hear "Romance readers." Check the statistics and you'll learn that women ages 40-59 are the top digital download patrons. Canadian Romance publisher Harlequin has embraced their digital customers with an innovative website offering occasional free downloads, web-only miniseries featuring Forbidden Fantasies to NASCAR to Texas-Hold'em, multiple imprints from mild to wild, reader blogs, and even manga romance for your cell phone. Harlequin now releases every print title as an eBook. And check out the iPhone promotion "Romancing the Phone" featured in Publishers Weekly - which seems to have a few glitches. But glitches aside, it looks like romance is leading the way in innovative digital reading.

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