Not Your Grandmother’s E-Book

July 6th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We have been amused by the rash of articles touting the the future of e-books. Everyone seems to be focused on the technology — all we need, they suggest, is the perfect reader, and the future it ours! — while nobody seems to realize that e-books are being purchased every day in grand numbers.

It struck us that the industry is focusing on the wrong issue when the BS mother-in-law, not the world’s most technologically adept person (but not the world’s least technologically adept person either), purchased, downloaded, and read an e-book. The book had the information she needed for a project she was working on. Goal accomplished for both reader and author.

These transactions are happening all the time, without dedicated e-readers. While there are many who continue to scratch their heads and wonder who in their right mind would read a book on a computer screen, there are many more who are acquiring books and reading them. On their laptops. On the Palm Pilots. On really bad CRT monitors.

Even cell phones are being used, though not widely in North America.

In fact, later today, we will head over to Project Gutenberg to download “The Lady Of The Lake.” We’re too lazy to dig through boxes in the garage and buying a new copy is out of the question. We have checked his finances and determined that Sir Walter Scott does not need the funds.

While it is easy imagine legions of potential readers waiting for the perfect e-reader, the truth is that e-books are already in wide use. So much so that people don’t always associate the text they’re reading with an “e-book.” We would be tempted to suggest that time and place for a dedicated e-reader has passed…except then we see those poor little kids all bent over double thanks to backpacks stuffed with outdated texts. Ah, there’s a market.

[tags[ebooks, ereaders, project gutenberg[/tags]

File Under: Square Pegs