Reading a recent article by Chuck Martin, author of The Third Screen: Marketing to Your Customers in a World Gone Mobile (he is the Director of the Center for Media Research at MediaPost Communications) I was struck at what he had to say about the future of books in a  world gone mobile.

The focus of his short piece was the recent (a few weeks ago)  BookExpo America (BEA), which is, I think, the largest book industry event in North America and one of the largest gatherings of publishers in the world. It was held at the Jacob Javits Center in New York.

At the same time, and on another floor of the Center, was the BlogWorld and New Media Expo, which promotes itself as the largest conference in the world geared to bloggers, podcasters, Web TV content creators, social media enthusiasts and new media content creators.

Over 3,000 attending the BlogWorld conference, and the BEA had three times that number. It was a big event.

All the book publishers were there, from McGraw-Hill to Penguin. It is an amazing event, if you love books. Now, these authors, editors, publishers, etc., were into paper. Downstairs, the BlogWorld people were focused on digital delivery-WordPress!-(WordPress powers some 75 million blogging sites (including this one).

At both of these conferences, Chuck Martin had an agenda. He was searching to see the future of mobile, i.e., how soon would we be reading novels, non-fiction, as well as this blog on our phone?

When Martin asked publishers what they were doing with mobile, they told him not very much. Most publishers say that their mobile efforts were being handled by their distributors, most notably Ingram.

Ingram is the largest book wholesale distributor in the world, with millions of titles and more than 71,000 retail and library customers. Martin quotes Marcus Woodburn, vice president, Digital Products at Ingram, as saying, “Our job is to get the published content to where the consumer wants to buy it.”

And here is why that is important. Two examples.

In South Africa, according to Woodburn, only one percent are connected to the Net. He knows that a “market”, i.e., books, would be better suited to be read on phones. The same it appears is true also in Latin America and China. “People do read books on phones,” he says.

Well, what’s next? Forget about the Kindle and Nook, just dial up the book you want to read on your phone.

RPCV writers, your next book sale maybe only a phone call away.