So you’re excited to open up your new book, freshly downloaded to an ereader. It might be the Amazon Kindle, maybe the Barnes & Noble Nook , or even a tablet using a book app. The anticipation rises, the new download opens to the title display, then after turning a few pages it opens to the first chapter. Three words in you realize you don’t like the font. Or maybe not. It’s more likely the font style and size are the furthest thing from your mind. As you read, a few hundred other people are likely reading that same novel, but are experiencing it in entirely different ways. Aside from the personal taste and perspective every reader brings to a story, there’s also the technical components of reading devices that allow people to customize their experience, and manufacturers to reach a wider audience with ebooks.
Devices such as the Nook or Kindle give you a variety of choices to make reading more comfortable. Each device features font and text size options as well as different color themes and margin sizes. Now, these features work a double function. One is to help make the reader more comfortable, the other is to make these devices more enticing to readers across all spectrums. Ebooks have their default font size, but it may be in the best interest for a particular reader to have a larger font. By making these devices cater to those who desire less eye strain with a bigger font, such as for those with vision problems, or those who desire a smaller font to fit more words per page, publishers and tablet manufacturers can effectively keep their readers happy, and perhaps, to keep them buying more ebooks. One such example is Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite, which contains a special font, “Bookerly.” Its stated purpose is to keep spacing and words consistent throughout all font increases and decreases, and encourage users to stay in their story longer. Considering how much time and money can be spent on ebooks, it makes sense for companies to invest in components that are entirely devoted to the reader’s comfort. Yet, that doesn’t explain why the manufacturers added margin spacing, background color and color themes. The idea that someone can change the default for a unique look suggests that these particular options are entirely made to appeal to the reader who wants to be creative with their story, to try and make it theirs by tailoring it to themselves and having fun. In this way, old tales can be refreshed with a new look. Although these options are not heavily marketed, this move is investing in the customer’s happiness and loyalty.
It’s no wonder why ebooks have become popular. They’re easy to download, are often sold at a lower price, and many can be transported on one device without the weight or size of their physical book counterparts. By further indulging in the variables that technology allows, companies such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble are attempting to draw in new customers and find even newer ways to make existing customers happy. And in this case, it was as easy as offering an ebook with a customizable interior.