Ebooks? Great to curl up with in a coffee shop or on the couch?

Reading at the thames

Thirdly, aside from the voting-with-your-feet side of things, it is just a really nice book to own in print. It is really well made, looks stunning and feels great to curl up with in a coffee shop or on the couch.

So in the last post about Jono Bacon's ebook he wrote a part about why people should still buy the book version. The last part was the quote above. This provided the perfect start for me to talk about the Sony Ebook reader I bought almost a month ago.

I love my ereader it operates very well and hasn't let me down not even once since I got it. Pull it out, switch it on and there you have it. Is this as fast as opening a book to the right page? Maybe not but its not far off. Reading in low light and sunlight is as good as a book and does it pass the coffee shop test. I was in starbucks waiting for someone and was engrossed in the pirates dilemma that I finised chapter 4 in the time it took to finish my slighly bitter grande americano. Anyway the point of this post isnt' to compare the two. Its more a look at the book industry and ebooks.

My friend Miles shot me a troubling smile when he first saw my Ereader. Then he accused me of supporting a unsustainable business model. The problem with ebooks is that they generally cost the same amount as the paper books themselves. This isn't right and I agree. Imagine if digital downloads cost the same as there physical versions. Buy a Film for 7 pounds as a DVD and also download the same for 7 pounds, it doesn't seem right does it. I mean come on it should be cheaper simply because there's no or low manufacturing, packaging or delivery. Worst still is the lack freedom attached to ebooks. So you pay more and can do less. This is a scandal, why would anyone get involved in this?

Well I'm not! Theres a serious problem with Ereaders or Ebook readers if you prefer. Since the Amazon kindle came out its boost the awareness of Ereaders but on the other hand everyone seems to think its the only kind/approach. The Sony Ereader is arguably a very different beast and moves in different circles. You can get involved in the Ebook scandal if you choose but you don't have to. There's plenty of ebooks available without adding to the unsustainable business model. So when is it going to change? Honestly I don't know but my thoughts is that it won't get any better paradoxically till more people buy Ereaders and reject the ebook stores. Like most things the black market will fill the demand till the book publishers get a clue or get the message. The Paradox is even stranger because there's little benefit to most people with ebooks. Yes size and weight but really most people don't care. Look at Ebooks on smartphones like the iphone, android, windows mobile, etc. Its all available now but no ones really going for it. This may change, in the same way music collection balloned over time and people started using there phones. But for most people even the most perfect density or size won't make any difference. Our relationship with books is radically different from other media. I don't quite know why but the scenario of curling up with a ebook still seems quite distant for most people including I'm somewhat sad to say myself.

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Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.