Friday, October 15, 2010

Readers are the Quickies in Reading

READERS are the 

by Donald Jacques

A Printed book is personal. Each book has its own smell, texture, feel as you

read and note, and read again. It can be handled and read again and again
without any extra equipment - batteries not needed.

An E-Book is IM-personal. The way the market is today, the only real difference
between one book and another is either the cover art, or the reader it is viewed
on. Yes you can store a hundred books in one device, but can it go to the tub,
or the road trip, or even the campout? I think not. It would really suck if I
got to the best part of a new book and my battery ran out in the middle of the
woods. Egggaaack!

That being said, I suspect we are about to see the E-Book market diverge into at
least two tracks.

As the Nook, Kindle, and other readers are basically "quickies", they will
likely find their place as reference tools. For that quick read or catch up in
the car, on the bus, or subway. During lunch at work, a reader pulled from the
purse, or briefcase serves very well. Perhaps for the download of that technical
article you read about in the meeting last hour. I expect to see e-book prices
for these straight-laced digital texts (fiction AND non-fiction) to (on pressure
from Amazon and others) perhaps float between 5 and 10 dollars. Consumers just
don't see the value in the "cookie cutter" book that the current spate of
e-readers delivers.

Now, as the iPad appears to offer the promise of color and additional content as
mentioned a couple of times above, I suspect that consumers will be happy to pay
the higher paperback, or even hardback prices for e-books with just such
extended content. And with the power to have addons like, say, the LG phone's
projector module, the iPad would become a truly must-have device on which
reading that novelization of Avatar and its add on features like clips from the
move could actually become somewhat pleasant.

Finally, for a truly personal reading experience, nothing will ever replace the
printed book. Like a good wine, a printed book ages, and in some instances, can
increase in value as its condition is maintained. No E-Book will ever be able to
do that. One cannot build a "collection" of e-books (as stated above) that could
be donated to a library who would receive it with reverence, pride, and delight
- until some intern accidentally erases the whole set.

I say bring on the iPad, Nook, Kindle, but let them take their places in the
market. That is, once all the fear, greed, and dust settles.

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