Monday, June 02, 2008

Kindle and E-books, Wave of the future?

Here's an interesting NY Times article about the Kindle and whether e-books are the wave of the future. It's almost like beating a dead horse, over and over, but the author makes the very valid point that it's an extremely useful device for reading electronic manuscripts, etc. I'm waiting until it goes down in price, and then seriously considering getting one for work purposes.

Feel free to discuss, while I'm still under the weather. Comments will be released as I get to them. =)

14 comments:

Ed Greaves said...

Not sure if you've read Agent Joshua Bilmes review of the Kindle, but thought it might be relevant.

Also, if you have a desire to touch/feel/get a sense of what one is actually like, I have mine with me just about all the time. I'll next be in your neighborhood for the GSHW meeting on the 14th. I'd be more than happy to let you putter around on it if you want.

Ed Greaves said...

Oops. I meant to put a link in there for you:

http://brilligblogger.blogspot.com/2008/05/me-my-kindle.html

Jenny Rappaport said...

Ed, that is a very tempting offer, and I may take you up on it. What time is the GSHW meeting?

Also, do you have a link to Joshua Bilmes' review?

Ed Greaves said...

I try to be there at 11 AM, as long as traffic permits. The invitation is good for any time.

Kristin Laughtin said...

I would very happily read ebooks, especially once technologies like the Kindle fall in price, but for me, nothing compares to the sensation of reading a printed book.

Robert Walker said...

Well, not sure about Kindle, since many reviews say it's not quite "there" yet, but, personally, I see e-readers as being the future. And even though I love the feel of a "real" book, I can't say it would be an unwelcome development. There are just so many possibilities.

Right now, my question is: where is Apple in all this? Why haven't we heard about an iReader. They're probably working on it behind the scenes and plan to spring it on us in the near future, taking over the e-reader market, just like with the ipod. Not that I would mind. I'm a mac person, after all. ;)

Elissa M said...

Kindle sounds like a great way to do business, publishing wise, but as a consumer I'm always going to prefer to buy and read printed books. I'm old fashioned, I guess. I also live on the edge of nowhere, where you never take power sources for granted and treasure anything that doesn't require any form of power to operate. It would be a shame if electronic media completely replaced things you can look at and read without a machine or power source.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

So does this mean that the Kindle has won the VHS/Beta, HiDef/BluRay wars?

What a shame.

Keith Y said...

Hi Jenny,

So sorry to hear you weren't well enough to go to BEA. I was in LA for PMA's Publishing University, but had to come home for another local event. I hope you're feeling better.

Regarding the Kindle; I've had one since January, and I absolutely love it. Since that day, I've delved heavily into the ebook industry, having initiated a partnership between my office and Steve Potash of the International Digital Publishing Forum (my colleague spoke at their annual meeting in NYC and I attended as well). This is fascinating stuff, especially in the international arena, where Japanese ebook sellers are selling Manga directly onto cell phones via SMS. I also met with the Managing Director of Ebooks Inc (an Aussie Company...who knew?...) to discuss trends.
In terms of true bookselling, I have the greatest familiarity with Tor's 'Watch the Skies' campaign. They've been putting up mobipocket versions of some of their books for electronic download. Their strategy is brilliant - the first book in a series is free, after that--you guessed it--you have to pay. Perhaps the most important piece of information from IDPF's meeting in NYC was that overall sales increased when an author made his/her title available via ebook. This is cool stuff. How much will it grow? Who knows? One thing's for sure, reading from an electronic device is second nature for today's teens and younger siblings. Put ebooks on the ipod, and, I think, all bets are off.

Hope you're feeling better. Drop me a line if you want to discuss. You have my email. If not, I'll gladly resend it.

Keith

Irate Teacher said...

There's an Opus cartoon where he is trying to use an e-book reader, and it shows how harsh it is. The final frame shows him holding the e-book reader as a book light while he reads To Kill A Mockingbird in hardcover. 'Bout sums it up for me.

Nancy D'Inzillo said...

I was recently asked by a friend in the printed news business whether or not I thought e-books would be the wave of the future. He seemed to think books were in "less danger" than printed news sources, but sometimes I'm not so sure. I'd like to think that electronic books will only encourage readers to buy the printed copies, but as the article suggested, that seems to happen less often. I think any publisher is going to have to contend with this issue and as an editor myself, I know learning HTML will probably be beneficial for that very reason. That said, I doubt the printed word will ever go out of fashion, because there's a visceral quality to reading a book that can't be beat (the smell of a new or old book, the feel of the cover, the joy of reading something that doesn't radiate light at me). The one concern I have about this article is that a company like Amazon could start demanding price cuts, which could really hurt the smaller presses. Even then, though, I feel like most smaller presses are aware of the "threat" and are working on getting online for that very reason.

Keith Y said...

Like many of you, I had serious doubts about ebooks. I'm a book lover. I like to collect them (have all Robert Jordan's--may he rest in peace-- leatherbound editions). On a trip to London I went to every tiny bookshop I could, just for the feel of the place. However, I DO love my Kindle. As much as I like to browse, the shear number of titles makes it difficult to pick something out. Tor is making this easy for me by emailing me the first book of an older series. The Kindle is also extremely user friendly, easy to hold, and the e-ink is so much like a printed page, it's remarkable. As with any new device, there are issues. The ergonomics are funny, and pages aren't numbered in a reader friendly way. From what I heard at IDPF's conference in NYC, publishers are now experimenting with ebooks as one more sales channel and not a replacement for printed books. I would suggest anyone who's interested go over to www.idpf.org to see what's going on. From what I've learned already, convenience may win out with this one, especially in parts of the world where cell phones are replacing laptops as an all-in-one personal electronic device. Already, Nokia and Sony have phones preloaded with ebook software. In Japan its very, very common. At IDPF, Sony reps stated that they targeted the business traveler for their first Sony reader. Their next campaign will be for the casual reader. I will say this...Amazon may have done too good a job. I loooove my Kindle too much to take it to the most popular spot for books...which is also the worst place for electronics...you guessed it...the beach :)

Keith Y said...

Irate Teacher,

The new ebook readers like the Sony and the Kindle aren't backlit, which makes it easier on the eyes. There's no glow from the screen. If Opus was using it for a reading light, I'm afraid he'd still be in the dark - pun intended. LOOOOVE Bloom County BTW, great reference :)

Sir John said...

I have heard of bugs in the current machines that will be worked out in a newer model soon. Also, the cost will be much less. I will wait on it.
I"m so sorry you are not feeling well and hope you feel better soon.
I know you are planning on attending the Florida convention in Nov. and I am looking forward to seeing you then.

Johnny Ray