Nuno Bernardo, co-founder and CEO of beActive has detected a growing appetite for ebooks among young readers, and is developing some exciting ideas for this new audience.
Ebooks are rapidly conquering the preferences of young audiences. Using their digital devices, whether it be smartphones, tablets or computers, the new generations are very comfortable reading stories in digital form. Online services like Wattpad.com or Movellas.com have been instrumental in reaching young readers. These online communities mix professional and user-generated content to provide ebook-like experiences for their users. Readers can even access their favourite stories in the form of periodic chapters. Offering community-building tools, and allowing audiences to comment, participate and share stories with their friends and peers, it’s not difficult to see why these platforms are such a hit with younger readers.
beActive recently released two books on the Wattpad platform with huge impact. Aisling’s Diary reached more than 2.5 million readers and the new Beat Girl series already has 510,000 readers. We think the numbers are so massive because the stories are closer to the audience than a formal book. The stories involve with the audience; they have the chance to comment, to suggest new ideas and they can see their participation reflected in the upcoming chapters and in the final version of the ebooks. We then complement these with audio-visual content available in short-form format videos, and also with content for other platforms like videogames for smartphones.
Our goal is to create new stories in partnership with our audience. This success then allows us to publish more traditional books and ebooks based on this development work we do with our fans. We recently published a paperback and ebook version of Aisling’s Diary, called Aisling’s Summer Diary, and we also released Beat Girl as an eBook. The original story of Beat Girl is now being extended with a fan fiction work created by a member of our community, which will be published for the Kindle platform.
Our eBook strategy is to establish the same type of relationship we have with our fans in other medias and formats. It’s in beActive’s DNA to develop stories with our target audience, allowing them to be part of the storytelling process. In some cases we even incorporate fan fiction from our community in the books and ebooks that we release. The new storytelling platforms allow us to bring stories to audiences quickly and allow us to listen to and interact with our audiences in real time – something that is more difficult to achieve with a formal paperback book (that has a longer time-to-market time). It is clear that young audiences are embracing these formats, and we are trying to adapt our development strategy to fit the needs and preferences of these new audiences.