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Thursday, 7 May 2009

E-Readers

Over at BBC News -http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8037058.stm - Michael Fitzpatrick has fielded a story about the "Rise and rise of E-Readers". He writes:
"Amazon's launch of its first dedicated e-reader for newspapers and magazines points to a future when digital and analogue publishing begins to merge.
Nearly double the size of the book giant's existing e-reader, Amazon's wireless Kindle DX has adopted a tabloid-like format for ease of reading newspapers and magazines such as The New York Times and the Washington Post which have announced they will launch pilots editions on Kindle DX this summer.
Although others, most notably the Japanese and the Dutch, have trials underway that publish tabloid-size digital editions for other handheld e-reader devices, Amazon with its mighty marketing clout represents the first mainstream commercial stab at the market.
Increased graphics resolution and the larger size of the tablet-like, the $489 Kindle DX is also a departure from previous e-readers on the market, although Japan's Fujitsu has a similar sized colour reader on the market for twice the price. "
Well, as a reader, I'm just not convinced. Maybe this is a knee-jerk nostalgia reaction, I was brought up with little dinky paperback novels, which I can trash to my heart's content, and not feel too aggrieved when I drop a £5.99 book in the Cypriot swimming pool. And with regards newspapers - I get my fix from online sites linkes to my browser's homepage. When I log on, it logs on, and I click on any news story that catches my eye. And have News of the World decided to subscirbe to this technological advancement? I said have they? Eh?
As a writer - a different story. I still remember Napster and the unbelievable kick-off with digital music back in 1998/1999 (for me), and more importantly for recording artists, the piracy of their music. How would I feel as an author if my book was spread across the Scandinavian piracy sites a few days after release? Pretty pissed, I can tell you. Piracy eventually equates to a lack of original work; after all, who's going to create "for a living" when that living is financially sub-standard to collecting trolleys at Tesco? Actually, quite a lot of people, heh, but if I'd stayed in teaching I'd be on 50K pa now. Not awesome, I know, but a damn sight better than what I earn in the creative arts. Factor in piracy as a revenue sapper, and I'd be out of business, out of writing (yay! shout some) and back to educating nippers to feed my own, err, nippers.
It's a hard life.
And try fishing your E-Reader out of the swimming pool.
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1 comment:

Aaron Spuler said...

Can't agree with you more man. I have a hard time reading anything of long length on the screen, even on a large 23" widescreen monitor.

Another thing to think about those readers: Say you're on a 6 hour flight, and really in to your book. Then 10 minutes after takeoff the screen goes blank and you realized 'dammit I forgot batteries' and now have to sit on your thumbs the rest of the flight. Good old fashioned books never rely on batteries.