karen_w_newton (karen_w_newton) wrote,

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Books 2 ebooks

A friend sent me a link to an article by a British bibliophile (he describes his obsession with books as bordering on "pervy") in which he relates being won over by a iRex's Iliad, an ebook reader he tested for a month. The new devices sound like they might indeed one day become the iPod-like technology that changes an industry. iPods have almost killed CDs and other music media because they offer distinct advantages (the big one is having all the music you love in the palm of your hand) in a reasonably priced format.

Right now the new ebook readers are too expensive to be a threat; only early adopters are going to pay that kind of money. But once it's cheaper, I can see this new thing taking off for several reasons. A big one is the idea that it doesn't kill trees. A second is that it takes so much less space. Who doesn't feel like they're drowning in paper every day?

Which is not to say I think print books will go away entirely. Unlike CDs, they still present a lot of advantages (cost, durability, ease of use) and they have an entrenched user base.

But the day will come, eventually. When it does, I wonder what effect it will have on the process of getting published? And think of the distribution changes! No need to guess how the book will sell and print that many copies. No need for a book to ever go out of print or to get sent back as remaindered. No "death spiral" as book stores refuse to order any more copies of an author's book that they sold the last time. In fact, no need for the book store.

Now that's just sad!

p.s. If you're wondering why my cat's picture is on this posting, there is absolutely no reason except he looks so good.
Tags: books, e-books, writing

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