Publishing/Writing: Insights, News, Intrigue

10/11/2009

More Thoughts on the eBook Format…And Kindle eBook Reader


Eldon Sarte, publisher of Wordpreneur, has some additional (and entertaining) thoughts on eBooks and the POD digital world previously expressed in this blog. I like his take on this subject:

My Thoughts on the eBook Format

Prompted by Michael Werner’s comment on yesterday’s News to Use item on the new Amazon Kindle eBook reader, here are my thoughts on ebooks in general. Make of them what you will.

• eBooks are excellent for “instant” on-demand delivery particularly for highly volatile and specialized content (e.g., technical, business, reference, textbooks, etc.).

• As a universal “paper book” replacement, the way ebooks were originally intended and envisioned way back when, they are failures. Why? Because consumers never asked for them. The paper book form factor is cheap, portable, intuitive (and did I say cheap?). So why would the consumer give a futz?

On the contrary, publishers (who were really the ones benefitting from the tech) were pushing it onto the consumer. Who was having none of it, except for areas where the tech made sense (see above).

Enter the Amazon Kindle, which looks like the one that has the closest potential to date to reach “universal traditional book replacement” status. Perfectly timed for the “Think Green” trend (assuming producing it uses up less resources than producing and distributing traditional books). Rich extensive content. And the wireless bit’s a thing of beauty.

But boy, at $399 I think it’s just too gosh-darned expensive for mass adoption. I think that’ll kill its immediate potential and growth. And too bad too; the world may just be ready for such an appliance… a reasonably priced one, though. Not that I can even come close to claiming I know better than Bezos and Co. on this particular subject, after they’ve obviously invested way more time and energy at it than the, what, 5 minutes I spent thinking about it?

On the other hand, they’re lucky they got 5 minutes after I heard that price tag. Cause and effect, hmm?

One last thing: that “tactile” thing Michael mentions (or “curling up with it in front of a fireplace” for you romantics). I fully agree… except that, to be fair, it’s the only reading experience I really know. I can’t honestly say (and chances are, neither can you) that “curling up in front of a fireplace” with Kindle instead of an actual book would be a better or worse experience.

Not yet, anyway. Books are cheap. The Kindle’s $399. I’m in no rush, thank you very much.

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1 Comment »

  1. Frances Jeanne said: "Thanks for spelling out the pros and cons so succinctly, John!!!"

    Comment by John Austin — 10/13/2009 @ 5:28 pm | Reply


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