|Google in Space.|
I’ve written previously about the Virality of the Medium.
It’s a simple concept. As retailers add ebooks to their inventory, as online booksellers add countries and distribution partnerships to their platforms, an author’s books begin to appear in more and more places.
For example Kobo is in fifty countries around the world and Amazon has a dozen countries. Smashwords has a dozen or so distribution channels.
But this week we saw another aspect of virality coming into play.
Apple has just released iOS8, described as an ebook retailing ‘bombshell’ by Smashwords founder Mark Coker in this blog post.
“It will be like having a bookstore in a billion pockets,” or words to that effect. In the developed world, mobile phones have extremely high market penetration. Less well known is the fact that in the developing world, mobile device ownership is skyrocketing, to some extent skipping over PC ownership altogether.
In a more futuristic aspect of virality, Google announced a program to use 180 satellites to bring the internet to the entire globe.
“A number of tech companies are exploring ways for it to increase broadband coverage to parts of the planet that lack internet infrastructure. Google's Project Loon uses balloons to act as high-altitude ISPs, and in April, it acquired Titan Aerospace, a company building solar-powered drones that can beam internet signals from the sky. Facebook said it was experimenting with a similar method in March, confirming that it was building a squadron of drones that could fly autonomously at 65,000 feet for months at a time using solar cells.” (The Verge.)
In a few years, a person sailing single-handedly around the world, perhaps in the roaring 40s between S. Africa and Australia, will be able to download a book from Google Books or Google Play, wirelessly, from orbiting satellites overhead.
But you don’t have to wait until then, as here’s one of my books on Google. The point is, that when they do it, it will look pretty much the same in their phone, iPad or tablet. They’ll just be in Mongolia, or the North Pacific or Antarctica or somewhere where any kind of programming or service was simply unavailable.
Over the next few years, maybe a decade, a couple of billion more phones, pads and tablets will be purchased. By definition they can be assumed to be all mobile devices. That’s special. It’s important—and that’s virality.
Here is a fireside chat I wrote, where I talk about the advantages of online writing and online promotion as opposed to doing it the old-fashioned way.
There’s already a shit-load of satellites up there now. This video gives some idea of what that looks like.
That’s not to say that word-of-mouth is dead or a thing of the past, but nowadays word of mouth travels digitally a lot faster than face-to-face conversation.
We simply have a lot more interactions electronically, than we ever did before when we were constrained to our street, our neighbourhoods, our town, our own small corner of the world.
My paperbacks are all presently 15 % off from Lulu.