Coastal Magic Convention

Coastal Magic Convention
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Tuesday, June 9, 2009

See The Future, E-Book Readers


Text books of the future?

Pardon my ramblings, but I read this article and got to thinking, and you all know how dangerous that is. According to an article in ComputerWorld, e-Book readers are gaining in popularity, and while I think that's wonderful I have a few thoughts on it.
E-book shipments are taking off worldwide, says market researcher In-Stat, with worldwide shipments expected to grow from almost 1 million units in 2008 to close to 30 million units in 2013, due in part to the popularity sparked by Amazon's Kindle.
The kids manning a booth at a Taiwanese computer expo had this to say about them:
A group of high school students at Netronix's Computex booth said they all want e-readers this year because they're "cool." When asked if the fact Netronix had comics in their e-readers had anything to do with their enthusiasm, they said, "maybe, but [the e-readers] are just so cool, so light and you can put all your books in them." Many Taiwanese students carry around bags of books so big that some parents buy small suitcases with wheels to ease their burden.
A lot of e-book reader enthusiasts have been saying that e-book readers could be the future for high schools and colleges everywhere (and I agree), but it remains to be seen if the academic world will pick up on it before the students do. It's nice to know, however, that the younger generation is gravitating towards e-books! I've heard rumors of a color e-book reader that would be perfect for things like comic books and graphic novels. Since I love seeing book covers in full color I'd probably love a color e-book reader.

And now for my walk of shame: I have no e-book reader. I read e-books on my laptop and on my Sprint HTC SmartPhone, which looks something like this:



I haven't seen the need to buy an e-book reader since I essentially already have one. The screen is very small (it's a phone, after all) but it's full color and if it needs power I simply plug it in, sit back and continue reading. The page turn rate is fast compared to some of the page turn rates I've seen on e-book readers, and since that slow page turn rate is one of the few things that turns me off of e-readers I'm very happy with what I have.

The only cons to a "phone + e-reader"? It's back-lit, which means I have difficulty reading it in bright sunshine, and the battery power isn't as good as the battery power of an e-reader. Still, I have to wonder: is a $270 device that only reads e-books better than a multi-functional device that has less battery power but has the same price? Add in the fact that I can read in bed without waking my husband or tacking on an outside "booklight" that has about the same battery power as my phone, and all in all I have to stick with the multi-functional device.

The pros to a smartphone? It has it's own OS, which means I can install programs on it like Adobe Reader or Microsoft Reader. My phone reads .html, .pdf, .lit and .doc/.rtf/.txt. I can install Mobipocket if I like so I can read .prc's. Why can't e-book readers do what my phone can do? The only books I can't read on it have DRM, and I don't want to read those books anyway. And since it's a PDA I can make phone calls, put doctor appointments in the calendar, check the weather, read my e-mail...

I guess what all my rambling means is that I think e-book readers should have an OS like my phone does, whether it's Windows or Mac based, so I can install programs on it like I can with my SmartPhone. Why not, Sony? Amazon? How about a back-light you can turn on or off, or a button that puts you in e-ink mode for sunny days and lit mode for dark, midnight readings? I don't really see why it can't be done. After all, if my little phone can pack all that in, why not a dedicated e-reader?

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