Saturday, July 26, 2008

Whither eBooks?

One thing I keep thinking about is how paper print is still so popular when there hasn't been more of an effort to switch to electronic device book reading.

When I was studying for my library degree in 1993, there was talk even then of electronic screen eBooks, reading off of CD-ROM discs. There's a moderately successful eBook format online with NetLibrary, however only libraries seem to carry it. There's been, from what I've read, attempts to create book reading devices, but there were conflicts over marketability, technology, copyrights, costs, what have you. It's only been in the last year, with the advent of Amazon's Kindle device, that I've seen any overt big-push toward eBook reading.

Paper print is still popular because 1) it's relatively cheap, and 2) it's what people know. But as more people do stuff on computers and the Internet, and depending on if Kindle retains and expands its' place in the market, we should finally start seeing a shift away from paper-based reading and toward computer-screen reading.

I'd love to see a Kindle in action. And I'd love to get my short story book on Kindle. Heh.

1 comment:

Katinka said...

This topic fascinates me - I wonder how a shift toward ebooks will impact on future styles of writing adopted to accomodate a digital format.

I must admit I enjoy taking a book to bed with me, tucking it under the covers and reading for several hours until I fall asleep. My aunt takes that a step further and takes her paperbacks into the bathtub with her.(And was sent a free replacement copy from a bemused publisher when she complained that the book fell apart in the tub)

A lot of people use computers extensively during the work day. After a long day in front of the screen I wonder whether the average person has the attention span to engage in focussed, leisurely sitting-in-front-of-the-pc style of reading, especially with all the distractions of emailing, gaming and facebook and the sometimes intrusive presence of online chat.

Even as a blogger, I'm conscious of trying (and often failing) to keep posts fairly brief so as not to loose readers interest.

So, I'm curious to see if a move away from paper-based reading will result in a very different style of writing - perhaps more concise?

But will we also loose something of the physical pleasure of reading...the smell and texture of the paper, being able to tuck a book under your arm and take it to a park, or recline with it on a cold winters night in bed?