>You can paint it anyway you like, but books on electronic devices will never be a large market
>until those devices are as practical as a bog standard dead tree book.
My eReader is fairly practical. If you can use an MP3 player, you can use an eReader. Not all that challenging. Hurdles for mass uptake right now is price - both of the hardware and the books. That is changing rapidly, and will continue to.
When I go away I often take ten or twelve books with me. In a device, protectively jacketed in a nice leather case, that's the size of a slim hardback. I could fit my entire book collection, physical and electronic, on my reader and the size/weight stays the same. I read quite fast, so for a fortnight's holiday, I'm going to need an awful lot of squashed tree, both in volume and in weight. Who's more practical now?
>I can picture it now, I want to settle down in bed and read for a few hours. I grab my iPad or
>Kindle or whatever, turn it on, only to find there's no battery power left. Damn, where did I put
> that charger? Now I need to find the charger and plug the damn thing into a socket.
I keep my charger by my bed. When my book is on my nightstand, it's on charge. That means it's ready to go.
Worrying about whether stuff is charged or not is a pretty poor argument. Substitute the word mp3 player/laptop/phone into anything you've said and then wonder if that's why none of those things are popular. Oh wait.
>I'm sitting on the train with a three hour journey ahead of me - damn, but I forgot to charge the
>bloody eBook reader - tum te tum...
Same same. I forgot to charge my phone/ipod/laptop/toothbrush/etc. People living in the 21st century are fairly good at remembering to charge stuff. I've had an iRex eReader (which has relatively crappy battery life) for over three years now. Never have I not been able to read 'cos of battery flatness.
> 20 years down the line, several competing formats later and your book collection is a either a
> mess, or you've spent time, effort and probably money converting between formats.
I have what's called a "macro" in OpenOffice. I put text in, sometimes after spending several seconds ripping DRM from my purchase, then it comes out as a PDF formatted for my iLiad. If/when I buy a new reader, I'll make a new macro. The source text is always saved in a clear, open format. There are itunes-a-like apps that can do the same thing as my scripts/macros, for the less technologically inclined user.
Once you've started reading in 10pt Helvetica, you wonder why you'd ever want to read anything else. Glorious.
At this point, after no more than a few minutes of clicking here and there - no more effort than ripping a CD to mp3, and less time - I'm reading my book, warm and comfy on the sofa/in bed/whatever. You're still waiting for the postman to deliver your Amazon order, or you're queuing up in a bookshop.
I'd suggest it's possibly more time/effort/money to get a physical book. By quite some margin.
>I sincerely hope that eBooks are *never* more than just a novelty, a fad - life without libraries, >book shops, sharing books with friends, turning a physical page, the smell of ink and paper...
Libraries are about a lot more than just books. Common fallacy held by people who don't go to them any more. The libraries near me are working out their electronic lending strategy as we speak - it's likely users will be able to borrow, legally, through a web browser. And won't that be lovely for those who have mobility issues. Or people who have visual impairments and can't get their favourite books in Large Print. To make anything Large on an eReader is just a few clicks of the "Font size+" button. Libraries are about access to information in all it's forms, not just books. My library has music cds, dvds/blurays, internet access (and yes, there are still lots of people who can't afford their own, even in a city like mine which has free wifi), seminars, video games, kids activity events, reading clubs, etc. etc.
I share ebooks with friends. How cold and heartless of me. Same as people still share mp3s with friends. Format is not the point here, content is.
On the issue of format, you may have noticed in your bookshops that high-quality hardbacks are coming back. Nice paper, boxes, illustrated pages - the book industry is doing what the music industry is doing - mp3s are replacing cheap CDs, but for those who like physical formats, the luxury versions (eg, heavyweight gatefold vinyl etc) are coming back. Ebooks will mostly replace paperbacks. But hardbacks will still exist. And they'll be *better*