I happened across an interesting piece on e-readers called “Whatever happened to the e-reader tsunami of 2010?”. Indeed. You may recall at the beginning of the year there were many pieces on how we were going to be inundated by next-gen e-readers, using such new technologies as “e-paper” and “e-ink”. Well, besides Apple’s instant hit of the iPad, and Amazon’s long-simmering Kindle and some Kindle knock-offs, where are they?
But the most surprising part of this piece wasn’t that it pointed out the obvious lack of e-reader releases so far this year, but rather this astonishing paragraph:
“Now that I’ve gotten used to reading on the iPad, I’ve ditched my Kindle entirely. I’ve now gone back to buying my books in dead-tree format for at-home reading, both because print is more relaxing and because it comes without DRM. I also have a few Kindle copies of some of my books on my iPad for when I travel. So in some cases I’m paying twice for the same book, but the print copy is mine—I honest-to-God own it—while the electronic copy is more of a fee that I pay to be able to read the book on my iPad when I go on a long trip.”
I’ve long suggested that the future of books would be quite a bit more diverse, nuanced, and surprising than the “all digital all the time” predictions of many commentators. But to find someone stating this rather clearly seemingly so early in the process of change caught me by surprise.
Yes, Mildred, we will have print and digital alongside in many cases. We will in some cases buy books in multiple formats, as was stated above and as we have already experienced with music. I mean, how many formats of Dark Side of the Moon must one person buy?!
We are not entering a period of digital only. We are entering a period of increased format options, increased interaction options, and a world of consumer choices at various price points and capabilities. So if you like to read as I do, you will welcome this rich reading ecology as do I.