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Reading the signs

Not road signs, more like signs of the Digital Apocalypse. Just as fundamentalists look at every natural disaster as a sign that the end is near, I have been noticing things that I see as omens of the coming of the Digital Apocalypse!

The original Sony Reader, available in the US in 2006, was probably the first faint sign, followed by the appearance of the Kindle in 2007.

Then, as soon as 2010 hit, the New Year predictions by publishing industry experts all included numerous mentions of ebooks. And this year's CES was full of eReaders.

Today there were a couple of development. First, Amazon opened their digital publishing platform to publishers in other countries. (I hope they have checks in place to prevent a repeat of the 1984 debacle).

Next, an industry survey of book buying habits showed that 20% of book buyers have switched to buying ebooks.

On the other hand, today also brought this announcement that Xerox was teaming up with the manufacturer of the Espresso POD machine, which means print is adapting, a good sign for long term survival. So maybe the Apocalypse is, if not on hold, at least not a done deal.

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( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:50 pm (UTC)
It wouldn't shock me if the biggest appeal of eReaders is the ability to expand the font size of an eBook. If that ability didn't exist, I doubt eReaders would have taken off. Hell, I wouldn't even be considering one for my wife were that not the case. (Shh. Don't tell her.)

(Okay, I'm also surprised that Amazon survived the dot com meltdown in 2000-2001. I still shake my head in wonder at that.)
Jan. 15th, 2010 07:53 pm (UTC)
I agree that font size accounts for a lot of the appeal with the baby boomers (and older). I know an 89-year-old who loves hers for that reason.

I think Amazon made it by diversifying from books to "if you'll pay for it, we'll sell it."
Jan. 16th, 2010 11:38 am (UTC)
I'm not a baby boomer, but it's one of the things I love about my e-reader. Just one of the things...
Jan. 16th, 2010 10:11 pm (UTC)
So, what do you young whippersnappers like about eReaders?
Jan. 17th, 2010 09:40 am (UTC)
Portability -- going on holiday with all the books I need.
Never losing a page
All those short stories you can't be bothered reading on an LCD screen? -- download them and read them on this instead. Unlike a computer screen, e-ink doesn't hurt your eyes.
Add in my own short-stories, my own manuscripts. Work documents.
The ability to buy a new book late at night or an English language novel when I'm abroad. As long as you have an internet connection, of course.
Avoiding having to wait for titles that have yet to be released in my market -- this does require a bit of internet savvy to pull off, though.

There is more. If you have a desperate urge to read my full thoughts on the subject, click on the "ebooks" tag on my lj page. I have several entries there.
Jan. 17th, 2010 07:04 pm (UTC)
Interesting! You don't mention the one feature I love about my Kindle; I am wondering if that means the Sony bookstore doesn't offer it. That's the "free sample" option, which almost all Kindle books (but not short stories) have. You click the button and the first chapter or two is sent to your Kindle for free. If you read it and like it, there's a link to buy the book. If you don't like it, no prob. You found out for free that it wasn't the book for you.

One reason I love this feature is it makes me more likely to try new authors. For example, I just found this book called THE INFERIOR by some Irish guy. -)

The sample looked good, so I bought the book.
Jan. 17th, 2010 08:41 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you!!!

Nah, the Sony is way behind on the free sample end of things, but I agree with you -- it's a great feature and now that the kindle is available in Ireland I'd be tempted. But I'm happy enough for now, so there's no urgency.
Jan. 16th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
I'll echo Karen on that; what are the other things you love about them?
Jan. 17th, 2010 09:41 am (UTC)
See my answer to Karen above...
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )

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