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Saturday, 21 November 2009

The eBook: THE STATE OF PLAY

I keep updating the Archive with the latest news concerning the eBook revolution - that's what the Archive is for and not only do I plan to cover genre fiction, films, but all elements of pop culture. And as a writer and reader the book industry is something that involves me. Digital books are the single most important thing happening in publishing at the moment and so I will continue to go one and on about the subject until something else of equal importance comes along. Don't hold your breath though - the last development of such paramount importance was the development of the printing press.


The eBook world is seeing new developments by the second but the biggest concern at the moment is the format wars currently being fought. This can be confusing and leaves people understandably dubious about buying a reader that will be obsolete in a few short months. Thankfully a format seems to be starting to dominate and it's not the Kindle code. ePub seems a likely bet and I think I'm correct in saying all readers, including the Kindle, will be able to display PDF versions. My own reader, The Elonex, is far from the best reader on the market and it is basic in comparison to the Sony and Kindle but I download a lot of public domain books and then convert them to PDF files and I'm in my oils. Any book that ends up on Google Books will likely be able to be downloaded in a PDF format and if not the file can easily be converted. The Elonex can also handle the popular ePub format.

However early adoption of the eReaders can be expensive and industry experts are predicting a big price drop in the near future. So maybe holding out that little bit longer but believe me if you are a book lover you'll eventually want an eReader.




Will they ever do away with real books?

That will never happen and eBooks should be able to compliment regular books rather than largely finish them off the way MP3's have with CD's. Books are a different matter and people have a genuine love for all that paper glued between two pieces of board. I'm proud of my library and will always keep adding to it. But I'm more and more inclined to buy the latest big sellers as eBooks these days. I'm eager to see my own books made available as eBooks and am waiting for the day when all books are available as eBooks and priced fairly; after all it's a lot cheaper to produce an electronic book.

The natural progression of this will see people becoming bedroom publishers and putting their own work on the web, often free of charge. Indeed this is already happening and a great many of these will be crudely written and will vanish but the next megaseller could come about in this way. The rock band, Artic Monkeys hit the top spot without a record deal and built up a fan base on the web and it is not too far a leap to think a massive writer could be birthed in this way.

These are interesting times indeed.....

1 comment:

Laurie Powers said...

I for one am glad that you're summarizing this for us - otherwise I wouldn't have a clue.