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E-book or E-newspaper?

A colleague pointed out to me a recent article announcing Sony and Waterstones combined foray into the somewhat unsure world of E-books. The reader, which apparently can be read in direct sunlight and on an angle (perfect for those crammed tube journeys?), can hold over 100 e-books and has a battery life of around 7000 (E)-page turns. Will this be the death of printed book?

Hardly, I say! How can this compare to physically holding the book, the crackle of the pages, the changing emotions as you finally turn to the last page? You might disagree but maybe being a librarian in a previous life makes me biased! No I think there will always be a place for the printed book, but the printed newspaper on the other hand? How many times have you stood on a cramped tube or train with barely or no room to turn the pages on the newspaper without brushing the face of the person next to you? Or indeed arrived at work to find ink stains on your face?

The E-Reader could solve all that! Sadly Sony’s device requires a cable connection for you to download e-content – no wireless there I’m afraid. However apparently there is a competitor product from the US (due in the UK later this year) which allows the user to sign up for and receive an e copy of the newspaper of their choice each day. Now that sounds better! Not to mention all the saving on paper! Now I just need to find out what the cost of the reader is hmm……

http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2008/sep/05/ebooks.sony

3 comments to this post

  •  :  What matters, really, is what one is reading. A decent book shop or library has thousands and thousands of books, most of which, at a particular moment, I don't want to read. If I find one that I want to sit with, then I am happy-- but will it be available on a Sony reader? I doubt it. And would I have to pay for it if it were? We are obsessed with the technology-- but writers write stories-- and they are what interest me. Literature is a huge inheritance of hundreds of years of writers- some wonderful, some nutcases. Most of what they have written isn't contained in a Sony reader.
  •  :  This is true, the content is more important than the format. I suppose that if the reader turns out to be popular then more and more titles will become available in e-format. I see it as being complementary to printed books rather than a replacement, in the same way that my ipod is useful for listening to music when I'm out and about but could never replace my stereo and the appeal of vinyl. We download a lot of music and buy in hard copy format the things we particularly like so I think it might work the same way for the e-books and actual books, depending on the cost of the e-books of course. I'm off on holiday soon and would love to be able to take a single reader with a choice of titles rather than lug 4-5 heavy books in my already over-stuffed suitcase!
  •  :  I had a chance to play with one of these the other evening and was very impressed. It sits well in the hand and the page turning option feels very like the real thing. I must admit though I immediately wanted more. Why can't I write notes on it? Yes I know I wouldn't write notes in a book but these feels different. You want to interact with it!

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