★ More Ebooks

Further to my review of the COOL-ER eBook Reader, it’s worth not­ing that, else­where, the Internet is light­ing up with com­ments, spec­u­la­tion and reviews about the com­ing storm in pub­lish­ing that is the digit­isa­tion of lit­er­at­ure. Check out this MacWorld story. It out­lines the ten new ebook read­ers announced or released at CES this week.

I had a brief exchange with @Sifter on Twitter yes­ter­day. He reminded me that the key factor in the digit­isa­tion of books is the devel­op­ment of a device that will bring such books to the masses. Remember a few years back when only stu­dents, tech journ­al­ists and geeks were using email? Then, sud­denly, your mum and dad had email accounts. You could bank online. A tip­ping point had come. For ebooks, the tip­ping point will come with a device that can finally com­pete with the prin­ted book as the tech­no­logy best adap­ted for read­ing, short form and long.

Andy Ihnatko recently pub­lished a sens­ible round-up of what the fabled Apple Tablet (or iSlate, or iBook) might fea­ture. Elsewhere, Neven Mrgan hopes that Apple will take the reins of the dis­tri­bu­tion model for writers so that pub­lish­ing a book will be as easy as upload­ing pho­tos to Flickr. John Gruber over at Daring Fireball has pub­lished two posts of spec­u­lat­ing about the Tablet: the Tablet and Tablet Musings. How close will this device come to Apple’s 1987 Knowledge Navigator concept video?

Friday Project author Caroline Smailes — in a post entitled I’m Cheap — announced that her books In Search of Adam and Black Boxes are now avail­able as ebooks for the rel­at­ively cheap price of £1.05. This, I think, is more sens­ible than the sky-high fig­ures I’ve seen else­where, and I expect the trend to con­tinue through­out the industry. (Note that some authors, such as Cory Doctorow, have been giv­ing away ebook ver­sions of their com­mer­cial fic­tion for sev­eral years.)

Interesting times.

2 thoughts on “★ More Ebooks”

  1. Thanks for post­ing this, Ian. E-readers are very much at the fore­front of my thoughts right now. As a new owner of an i-phone work­ing through Stanza and look­ing for a cheap avenue of digital self-publishing this is very rel­ev­ant to me. I still think ded­ic­ated e-readers will only take off once the price issues are sor­ted out. Someone shelling out £200–300 for a device to read books on the go will either want more than just an e-reader or they will want free books (which does the author no good at all).
    I reckon a next gen­er­a­tion i-phone or tab­let may just tip the bal­ance but we’ll see.

    By the way, I’m typ­ing this on an i-phone while I’m on the bus. Hoorah for tech­no­logy!
     

  2. Blimey, Matt, you should get a prize! I’m not sure I’d post some­thing that long on my iPod Touch.

    It’s cer­tainly an inter­est­ing devel­op­ment — the ebook reader, that is. But at the moment the ebook them­selves seem to render the books so poorly (in lay­out terms) that they’re annoy­ing the read. However, it could be that it’s only the older gen­er­a­tions who care about this.

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