The new generation of miLibris readers: context and objectives
The context …
The advent of digital media marked a turning point in the way we consume information.
From then on, the media often had to face an inexorable conflict of interest between their paper format and the birth of digital derivatives that they started to offer to their audiences. The difficulty of generating revenue from these new modes of consumption has often slowed down the process of transformation that was nevertheless imposed on them.
In this context, miLibris was born in 2009, with the primary objective of overcoming the lack of efficiency of the solutions offered by the market players, and with the ambition of significantly enhancing the experience offered to end users in order to serve the publishers' strategy.
miLibris has rapidly established itself as the French leader in digital publishing, by deploying its transformation, distribution and monetisation technologies to major players in the content industries.
Those who have taken the turn, without opposing paper and digital but rather considering that the formats could be both complementary and meet the different aspirations of their readers, have undoubtedly taken a considerable lead in the conquest of new revenues and in the transformation of their business models. They have been reaping the rewards in recent months in a health and social context that tends to increase digital consumption and mobile usage.
For those who have fallen behind, there is still time to make this digital shift and address a complete and adapted proposal to their community of readers.
So in concrete terms, why would a high-performance e-reader, with a fluid and qualitative experience, meet the publisher's digital performance challenge?
First of all, because publishing remains an essential part of the publisher's offer. In digital, it is the e-reader in particular that will enable it to be delivered to readers.
Many entry-level solutions are available to present a publication in digital format, but most of them offer a very mediocre experience: a static PDF to download or a standard PDF reader will allow you to flip through the pages and zoom in on the text... But by only attempting to reproduce the paper consultation, you will lose the use of most of the senses that characterise it, such as touch or smell, and will ultimately degrade the experience without having any added value to offer in return.
The direct consequence will inevitably be a disengagement of the reader from the publisher's proposal which will see its audience stagnate or crumble.
To perform well in digital, you have to offer something else, enrich and disrupt the experience, create a complementarity with the physical medium, you have to go much further in the intention and the proposal! The content cannot be fully revealed if the form does not allow it to be highlighted.
The e-reader is the meeting point between the publisher and the reader for digital publishing.
For this inescapable reason, the experience must be rich, intuitive and immersive. This is the ambition that drives us at miLibris and the project for which we have been investing in R&D for many years.
All the innovations that miLibris brings to the market, often co-constructed with publishers, are designed to enhance digital publications in order to strengthen the performance of the digital offer.
At the heart of miLibris' technologies, the digital readers, reputed to be the most fluid and stable on the market, are customised to the publisher's identity in order to respond closely to its brand issues.
2 ranges of e-readers are distinctly developed for a perfectly accomplished experience, exploiting all the requirements of the operating systems and terminals on the market (computer, tablets or smartphones):
Web reader: Html5 accessible from a browser on any terminal,
Mobile readers: iOS and Android for use within a mobile application;
They can be implemented (in SDK) directly in the publisher's digital ecosystem or integrated into catalogue distribution products developed by miLibris on behalf of the publisher.
The e-readers serve 4 complementary reading modes:
flip mode: a flip-through mode to find the codes of a paper reading with many features that smooth and facilitate the path through the publication,
article mode: a delinearised format that structures the text and images for greater comfort, particularly on the move, and better granularity for in-depth reading,
audio mode: different levels of sound quality for transcribing articles into audio
dynamic mode: integration of multimedia enhancements (videos/audio/slides/links) for an interactive and immersive experience
The features and options available in the e-readers aim to enrich the experience and can be configured by the publisher. For example, there is a table of contents, a railway, a search mode, different zoom levels, full screen, article or publication sharing, printing, downloading, etc.
The why and the how!
By developing a new generation of e-readers, miLibris aims to create a new market standard by responding to current trends in digital content consumption while becoming an even more powerful lever for acquiring and building brand loyalty.
From the very first design phases, and even before the ambition to innovate, the fundamentals were obvious: it seemed essential that the stability, reliability, fluidity and security level of the technologies were already recognised as "must-haves" for the new reading device project to be viable.
Considering then that a fluid and seamless path offers better readability and encourages the user's adhesion to the proposal, the intention was then to optimise the graphic customisation in the publisher's colours
The logos, main and secondary colours will be omnipresent during consultation and the styles of the article mode and summaries will be adapted.
Then, the proposal was aligned as closely as possible with current digital trends and operating systems so that the reader can appropriate the solution and personalise their experience. This will help to develop their engagement with the brand. The reader will be able to choose the reading orientation, font size and line spacing, adjust the display brightness, and above all access the reader in light mode, dark mode or by letting the device reproduce the default settings selected by the user. All this information is stored by the reader for a consistent experience over time and across the catalogue.
Finally, new paths have been designed with redesigned interfaces to make the experience enriching and addictive as a means of building loyalty and acquiring new reader communities for brands.
Navigation is more fluid and intuitive to switch from one reading mode to another. The user is better guided during the reading process with capsules mentioning the number of articles or the page number, progress bars, and an illustrated summary structured by headings, to filter articles by theme.
The deployment of the first version of the new e-readers started in June 2022 and will be progressively rolled out to all environments in the coming months to replace the current e-readers and become the new miLibris reference.
... and after?
But beyond phase 1 of this new generation of e-reader, miLibris' ambition is to operate this project as a guideline to continue innovating in an empirical and consultative way in order to serve its customers with new tools.
Evolutions and new iterations are already under development with a new, more refined and relevant search module to identify and target specific content in a publication, a redesigned dynamic mode to more easily accommodate numerous sources, the construction of a new template to more intelligently arrange the graphical and textual elements of an article, and the implementation of progressive downloading as soon as the edition is selected to facilitate access to the consultation while maintaining offline access in mobile.
Workshops are also underway with publishing partners to explore and imagine the next areas on which to focus our efforts:
How to create more interactions between the publisher's ecosystem and the content in the e-reader to homogenise the bricks of the digital offer?
What opportunities does the "article sharing" functionality offer in terms of monetisation (purchase per issue or subscription) or visibility, to generate both new revenue and acquire new readers?
Why does bookmarking (storing, categorising and organising items, articles or publications) again allow the reader to take ownership of the technology?
How can knowledge and understanding of users via data and machine learning help build relevant recommendation engines and generate more excitement for the user around the digital offering?
What opportunity does the publisher have to have more modular interfaces and views within the e-reader with different levels or means of accessing the content? How can we best respond to accessibility issues for comfortable access for all and in all circumstances?
More broadly, all the expectations and avenues that publishers will submit to boost their digital offerings will be studied!
Choosing miLibris for the transformation and distribution of digital editions means partnering with a team of experts who care about the quality of their products, compliance with applicable standards and the performance of their customers, while benefiting from a triple impact:
A powerful lever for sales and marketing performance and revenue generation thanks to a complete, reliable and scalable product.
A high rate of adhesion and commitment from both internal and external audiences thanks to an experience and pathways that are optimised to meet your customer acquisition and retention challenges.
A better management of your digital strategy thanks to tools adapted to better understand your readers and increase interactions with them.
30 September 2022