Monday, 7 January 2013

2013 For Book Lovers



Sometimes I’m reading an ebook and I’d like to flip forward and see how many more pages till the end of the chapter. But I can’t.

Or I might be on a train and see someone reading their Kindle or Nook, and I wonder what book they’re reading. Bu there’s no way to tell.

Then I pull out  up my own Kindle from the inside pocket of my jacket, with over a hundred books on it, and a bunch of comics, and even a couple of WIPs, and I think, it’s probably a fair exchange.


I think you have to accept at this point that the old squeeze the wood pulp and tattoo it with ink book is pretty much on its way out. Not that it will disappear altogether. And it still has its advantages (not much advance on the Braille ebook as far as I can tell), but when it comes to reading a story, the electronic book’s pros far outweigh the cons.

Certainly, as far as students will be concerned, a bag full of heavy textbooks or a single tablet? Not really any room for argument there.

Of course books are a brilliant delivery system for stories. Portable, no power source, long lasting. And people enjoy them as objects, their feel, their smell, their presence on a shelf. But what people think of as a love for books is actually more a fetish. It’s not the function, it’s the aesthetic people go for. Like getting turned on by the rubber outfit rather than the person inside the costume. 

That’s not to say books won’t be around. People still listen to vinyl, ride horses and believe in Communism. But those things no longer occupy the same role in society that they used to. It’s a preference rather than a necessity.

Still, e-readers have a way to go. Tablets in particular are horrible to read. All the eye irritation of a computer screen plus the bonus of being useless in the presence of sunshine. If someone could fix that this coming year, that’d be great.

Analysts predict sales for e-readers and tablets will fall this coming year. The novelty value is starting to wear off and lots of people have one they’ve never even used. They aren’t going to upgrade just because a new version in pink’s been released. But that’s good. Maybe it will push the manufacturers to come up with real innovation.  2013 could be the year ebooks come into their own.
If you found this post interesting, please give it a retweet. If you have thoughts on the coming year for ebooks, please leave a comment.
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In other news:
I won this over at Write To Done. Congrats to the other winners (check them out by clicking here) and big, big thanks to all of you who nominated this site.

26 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've had an iPad for almost three years now and only purchased two print books during that time. I am a convert!
Do people still listen to vinyl? I don't think we've used our record player in twenty years. I'm not even sure it still works.

mooderino said...

@Alex - I hung on to my vinyl even after I didn't have a record player. Finally sold them last year and got a fraction of what I could have got if I'd got rid of them when I first switched over to digital.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Congratulations on the award.

I don't have an ereader or tablet - I have the Kindle app for my laptop and that's it. I'm trying to stick to the rule of only buying ebooks if a print version doesn't exist - ie. bloggy friends rather than the last bestseller.

@Alex - I was in an independent record shop the other day that sold mostly vinyl with just a few CDs. It was sooooo cool!

mooderino said...

@Annalisa - Thanks! Be interesting to see how long you can hold out.

E.J. Wesley said...

I have an iPad and a new, eInk nook simple touch. I can't read on a tablet either. I gave it a go, and had to switch back to a dedicated eReader. Just too distracting for me personally as I like to zone out when i read, not have Facebook updates, etc. chimed at me every 15 seconds. (Yes, I know I can turn them off, but that's kind of the point of using a tablet.)

I agree that paper books will always be around, but they almost seem wasteful to me now. Which probably isn't the right attitude, but I do feel a touch guilty reading them if I'm being honest. I'm not sure how anyone could not believe digital reading is taking over at this point. Just too convenient and expedient not to, I think.

mooderino said...

@EJ - I find tablets are good for browsing the web while in bed or on the sofa and that's about it. E-ink is the only reason I switched to an e-reader and I won't upgrade until something substantial happens with e-ink involved (colour e-ink would do it). New tablets are all just novelty items as far as I'm concerned. Low functionality and small memory, waste of money.

Ghadeer said...

Hmm...I'm still reading the old-fashioned way but I won't say I'm too stubborn to change if I find myself inevitably being pushed in that direction by the world one day.

mooderino said...

@Ghadeer - It's still quite easy to keep reading the old-fashioned way, but it's going to get harder, and the temptation to switch ever more powerful. You can already download most classic novels for free. I have all the Dickens books waiting to be read. Sherlock Holmes. Russian greats. Moby Dick. All out of copyright and with no paper of ink to charge for, completely free.

Heath Lowrance said...

Great post, Mood. Shared on FB and Twitter.

Tammy Theriault said...

touche my friend...touche!

mooderino said...

@Heath - Thank you!

@Tammy - cheers!

Elise Fallson said...

I think once tablets find a way to merge lcd with e-ink, e-readers will become a thing of the past. Until then, looks like I'll buy my first e-reader pretty soon. Reading e-books on my kindle for pc is the pits and frankly, I've stopped trying to do it all together. For now, I still prefer physical print mainly because I have a habit of reading books with a mechanical pencil in hand and I'll strike out words or pencil in comments in the margins as I read along.

Stacey said...

I love my Kindle but I love paper books too, especially for reference. Trying to find a particular page in an ebook by flicking back and forth isn't easy!

mooderino said...

@Elise - I agree, but I also think the manufacturers drag their heels on any technical advances so they can release small improvements every year trying to get punters to buy a 'upgrade' version every year. Annoying business practice.

@Stacy - If they can make pages more accessible on e-readers I think that will make a big difference. sadly they seem more intent on enhanced ebooks and other pointless ideas.

CS Severe said...

It's funny how I'm using my kindle less when I was all into it two years ago. Now, I find myself buying books books on Amazon. However, that doesn't mean I won't ever use my kindle. E-books are still cheaper. I think 2013 will see the fad continue to plateau as people rely on their cellphones more for reading. Cellphones have already become mini tablets in their own right.

mooderino said...

@CS - I find phone's too small and fiddly to read on (weird how phones got smaller and smaller, and then started getting big again). I've seen some interesting ideas with phone-sized gadgets that can project images onto any flat surface. That might be another way to do it. You could even have a book with blank pages and project text onto them.

Rusty Webb said...

I read almost hard to find, or indie books on my tablet. I still get print books for the most part when at all possible. I think I'm going to make that transition one day, but it isn't now.

mooderino said...

@Rusty - I think those of us who grew up with books will always have a connection with them. It's the kids who'll use them from day one who'll probably make the complete switch.

Scribbles From Jenn said...

I had a similar conversation with my writing partners last night. It will be interesting to see how eBooks evolve.

Congratulations on your award.

Michael Di Gesu said...

I agree Mood. I have three e type readers. Two kindles and one I pad. I have DOZENS of books on them, but when I feel like reading I don't use a devise. I SOOOO prefer a book and not because it's a fetish, but because I ENJOY it more, plus my eyes are less strained.

AND, how can you not miss TURNING THAT PAGE when the read is exciting!

The Golden Eagle said...

It will be interesting to see if there are any major e-book innovations. Paper books are still pretty prevalent.

Congratulations on being a top ten blog for writers! :)

mooderino said...

@Jenn - books will be in pill form by the end of the century, I expect. (Cheers!)

@Michael - I'm sure they'll come up with an app for page-turning eventually.

@Golden - I think they have big things up their sleeves that they're holding back. That way they can sell as many as possible now and then make us all upgrade when the market bottoms out.

Lydia Kang said...

I am very interested to see what will happen with the e-reader market. Maybe they'll be giving them out for free someday?

mooderino said...

@Lydia - I'm sure Amazon have it in the works.

Anonymous said...

I just downloaded the Kindle app on my Android cell phone and I have mixed feelings about it. It's great for when I forget to bring an old fashioned paper book with me; or am going somewhere where I do not want to be carrying anything. I can still read on the commute.

But it is a little hard to get into. I am used to my phone being a time wasting device, that I find it hard to focus on the text.

mooderino said...

@Anon - I think phone screens feel too small for reading. I expect they'll eventually figure out how to project the image onto a bigger surface.

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