On Ebook Readers

There's a fascinating article from celeb author Nick Hornby at the Times Online on why ebook readers just aren't going to set the world on fire just yet. A lot of sense is spoken by the dude.

"Attempting to sell people something for £400 that merely enables them to read something that they won’t buy at one hundredth of the price seems to me a thankless task. (A member of staff at Borders told me that he had attempted to persuade a young and famous comedian to buy an iLiad last week. He seemed interested, until he was told the price, at which point he swore loudly and walked away. So at the moment, they are priced too high for millionaire showbusiness entertainers.)"

Read on.

Meanwhile, for those of you who can't get enough of the real thing, here's some book design pr0n.


B. Dewhirst said...

This presumes, and I think erroneously, that readers must cost 400 pounds.

They're trying to build fancy, proprietary little prisons to protect their precious intellectual property, not to develop something about the size and weight of a paperback which will let you read one of ten things over the course of a plane flight, on the subway, having a cup of coffee, etc.

Tim Akers said...

For what it's worth, my agent does most of his reading on his kindle now. So my book made it to the eBook revolution before it made it to print. Well...an early draft of the book. Point is...REVOLUTION!

Simon Haynes said...

Plenty of people read ebooks on Palm Treos, Windows Mobile devices, etc. Most of us carry PDAs or cellphones already, which is why they're the #1 choice for reading electronically.

My single biggest problem with ebook readers is this: I can carry a mobile and a 2.5" USB backup drive in a small camera case on my belt, but I'm not willing to wear something the size of a paperback.

Obviously people who carry a briefcase have plenty of room for an ebook ... or a paperback. I don't commute and I don't carry a briefcase, so an ebook device has to be small.

And if I'm not out and about with my reader, where's the benefit of ebooks? At home I'll always choose the paper variety - assuming I'm not sitting at the PC writing blog comments.

John said...

The eBook reader could and should never replace the actual book (a perfect design if ever there was one - portable, no need for a power source, although alas not entirely waterproof) but as tool for the publishing trade, the eReader is a completely indispensable and absolutely wonderful invention. No more lugging back-breaking reams of paper around, or dropping un-numbered manuscript pages on the floor of the bus. Instead everything is neatly contained in a magic box. Prise it from my cold dead hands... I dare you!