An understanding of audience goals can prove fruitful in digital publishing, according to Cynthia Cleto, global manager for e-books and e-product management at research publisher Springer. From a Q&A at TechNewsWorld:
… our readers are working at a desk somewhere and they want specific information at their fingertips in a hurry because of whatever they are working on. Relaxation is not the driver in this market.
Cleto says audience needs led to Springer’s “journalized” ebook collections:
They [academic readers/researchers] want highly specific information that may only be covered in a chapter or two. By “journalizing” each chapter, that is by making and presenting each chapter like a journal article, we make it easier and faster to search and download, and cheaper to buy since you can buy one or more chapters or the whole book. Either way, you get what you want, in a way you can best use it, faster and cheaper.
Based on Springer’s ebook experience — and O’Reilly’s, via Safari — the aggregated model is certainly worth exploring if a publisher’s audience is focused on research, development and other action-oriented goals.