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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.

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( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 12th, 2007 01:09 pm (UTC)
On the other hand, anything that gets people reading more can't be a bad thing, right?

Like music artists, we writers will have to simply adapt to the changing technologies. Those of us who blog are already on the right path.

May. 12th, 2007 05:20 pm (UTC)
An excellent point! If the next generation has no patience with paper, ebooks could save the day. But I would miss bookstores if they went away.
May. 12th, 2007 02:53 pm (UTC)
Well, I'm an early adopter.

And I think ebooks are great especially for people who move around a lot, eg are in the military or just travel a lot.

Amongst other things, like always carrying a library around with you. This is great if you're a mood reader. What if you want to read a keeper instead of the new NYT Bestseller?

I've trying to convert you, can you tell?
May. 12th, 2007 05:22 pm (UTC)
You must be a minister in the First Church of Ebooks! But you make a good case. So long as the screen is decent, I really don't have a problem with using an ebook. Once they are affordable, I will be happy to join your church!

p.s. GMail messed me up. I had replied to your comment thinking it was someone else's comment. That's why you'll see what looks like two replies.
May. 12th, 2007 05:32 pm (UTC)
LOLOL. Thanks.

But I do understand why you'd miss bookstores, even if that wouldn't be that big a deal for me. I have a booklist that goes everywhere with me in my PDA and I rarely deviate.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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