Welcome to a new series we are starting here at Gear Diary called “State of the eBook”. Every two weeks or so (more if the news warrants it) I’ll be bringing you the latest news in ebooks, publishing, and the general digitization of our reading lives.
To the surprise of no one (except maybe Borders), Barnes and Noble announced their ebook reader today. Like its competitors the Amazon Kindle and the Sony Reader Daily Edition, B&N’s device has wireless internet, this one through Verizon. Confused by the incredible number of choices out there? Techcrunch has helpfully put together a chart detailing everything from screen size, to wireless provider, to DRM and format options. Hopefully, the additional competition and wide release will help push prices down and sales up…
Though sales may not need much help. According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP, not to be confused with AARP), book sales in July rose 2%, and 1.9% year to date. Respectable for a “dying industry”, but the real story was buried in one sentence mid-press release: “E-books sales reached $16.2 million, reflecting a 213.5 percent increase for July, and a 173.9 percent year-to-date.” 173.9% YTD!!! Did all those new 3GS users run out and start downloading ebooks? (via Mobileread forums)
And this has publishers feeling a little nervous. They are looking into new ways to monetize their business, including “renting” books, selling individual chapters, and working with libraries to offer more ebook options. Would you rent a book if it were offered Netflix-style?
So that’s just a few blurbs that passed through the news in the last few days about ebooks. But I’d like this series to be a lot more than just a regurgitation of the news. eBooks are still a very divisive subject in some circles; it’s hard to let go of the feel of a paper book, that new book smell, and the hunt for a book in a bookstore are experiences that don’t replicate well in digital form.
I’d really love it if you (our readers) could share what you like/dislike about ebooks, whether there are certain books you WON’T read over eBook, your favorite ebook reader/format, etc. Gear Diary is about technology for everyone, and eBooks are just on the edge of becoming available in the true mainstream. So what do you love about that, and what’s holding you back?