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E-books under the tree?

Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah, and a joyous Kwanzaa to you all!

A recent article in the New York Times suggests that e-readers are finally catching on. The article is titled "Turning Page, E-Books Start to Take Hold," and it reviews the Kindle, the Sony, the iPhone/Stanza and the whole range of e-readers in terms of how they are doing. It also has illustrations of the various readers, if you're curious.

In other news, companies are working to develop even better readers, including color (but still e-ink) screens, and lighter weight readers. It looks like the e-reader has finally got momentum on its side. The interesting thing now will be how this affects book publishing.

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( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 26th, 2008 12:26 am (UTC)
--Dan Poynter, http://ParaPublishing.com

Not only are most of my books available as eBooks, I read a lot of eBooks. I am a publisher and a reader. That places me on both sides of publishing: as producer and consumer.

My speaking travels average some 6,000 miles each week. Yes, 6,000; I made five around-the-world speaking itineraries this year. (I have a home in Santa Barbara but live on United Airlines.) Traveling as light as possible, I do not carry printed books. Think about it, even for a short trip, you would have to carry two books—in case you finished one. For the past several years, I have read eBooks on my Pocket PC.

A Pocket PC is a multifunction device. Now I do not have to carry an address book, calendar, reference materials, paper books, etc.

Then something happened. In December I was home for a couple of weeks. I had a couple of mass-market paperback that I wanted to read. They were not available as eBook editions so I decided to read myself to sleep with one of them.

How awkward! With the printed book, you have to turn on the (bright) light. If you wake up in the middle of the night and decide to tire you eyes with reading, that light is dazzling! The eBook reader is back-lighted and very gentle.

As a world traveler, I have become used to reading my eBooks in a taxi at five in the morning. Light? No thanks, my (back-lighted) book comes with a light.

Holding a printed book (pBook) is awkward. It take two hands. Even a smaller mass market paperback is difficult. Have I been reading my Pocket PC with one hand too long?

Bookmark? How Twentieth century! I don’t need a book mark. Nor do I have to deface the book by dog-earing it. The eBook remembers where I stopped reading and opens to that page when I turn it back on.

Cost. The only reason I paid more for these pBooks is that they were not available as eBooks. I love these authors and have purchased everything they have written. How I wish all of their books were available electronically.

Type.. Why can’t I adjust the size to the glasses I am wearing? It is easy with an eBook reader.

Spelling. When not sure of a word in a pBook, I have to go find a dictionary. With my eBook, the dictionary is built-in.

Convenience. I can download eBooks from anywhere in the world. I do not have to visit a bookstore or have Amazon deliver it.

Disposal. I read a lot of books. What should I do with pBooks when I finish reading? My shelves are full.

Electronic books are a far superior platform to dead-tree books for numerous reasons. But let’s be practical. After trying both—extensively, I prefer to annoy electrons than cut down trees. This is not just an environmental concern, it is a practical reading decision.

I love eBooks.
Dec. 26th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I agree with most of this, except that having just bought a smart phone, I think that multi-function devices are still not as good as devices with a dedicated purpose. My smart phone lets me check my e-mail but it's not as easy to use a PC with a mouse and a large screen. I did put my address book on my Kindle, which comes in handy, but it's primary purpose is for reading books, and allows me to do that spendidly.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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