Posted Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Ebooks are now in the doldrums. Few people are buying ebooks. Not long ago, I, as well as many others, predicted an ebook boom. It didn't happen. The outlook now seems to be terrible. There are several reasons for this:
1 - Proliferation of Readers - Rocket, Gemstar, Microsoft, plus many more
2 - Expensive Readers
3 - Proliferation of Formats - exe, oeb, pdf, CE, LIT and many other alphabetical combinations
4 - Reading the Screen is Difficult and Awkward
5 - Lack of Portability
6 - Obtrusive Copyright Protection - the Microsoft Reader is a case in point. People don't want this. They want "fair use."
Despite all this I still believe an ebook boom is coming. The boom wasn't stopped; it was merely delayed. Within about 1-1/2 to 2 years we will see the ebook business grow fast. It will not replace paper books, but it will be a strong rival, especially in text books, technical books and business books.
Why? Because of the arrival of bluetooth technology. Like the ebook, bluetooth has been previously hyped a little to early. But indications are that major computer corporations are finally beginning to use bluetooth technology.
Why will bluetooth technology make such a big change? Because it will allow you to connect any peripheral devices to the desktop computer WITHOUT WIRES. This, in turn will allow you to make the monitor portable. With proper design, the portable monitor may also be an ebook reader. This ebook reader will replace all other gadgets and make ebook reading more comfortable and easier than book reading has ever been.
For those who would like to build a monitor-reader, here are some requirements that I think it should meet:
1 - NORMAL MONITOR FUNCTIONS - It should be able to function as a normal monitor
2 - COMFORTABLE AS A BOOK - The size, shape and weight of the device can easily be made to appear and feel like a book. With a little experimentation the cover of the monitor-reader could be made as soft to the touch as paper or leather.
3 - NO COPYRIGHT CONTROLS - The big corporations in the news, music, software and movie industries are shooting for burdensome encryption controls. Such controls will die just as earlier software encryption controls died. For those who cling to encryption controls, they may do it with software without affecting the monitor-reader.
4 - ACCEPT ALL FORMATS - The current monitor accepts all formats that do not require special reading devices. If the monitor-reader is effective, no special ebook readers will be needed
5 - VIEWING CONTROLS - It should have simple means for varying the light, the fonts, and the page size for optimum viewing in differently lighted locations.
6 - READING CONTROLS - In addition to page turning and bookmarking, it should enable the human reader to make notes and to copy and paste quotations or other ideas to other computer files.
6 - INEXPENSIVE - About $100. It may not be reachable at first. But it will happen once the idea catches on and people buy the unit.
Once such a monitor-reader is produced, the ebook world will explode and the media industries will be transformed. The monitor-reader will have all the advantages of a regular book:
> Ease of Use
> Good Looks
plus advantages a paper book does not have:
> Vision Comfort Adjustments
> Note Taking and Excerpting
> Instantaneous Emailing to Colleagues of Excerpts
> Incorporation of Ebook into Your Computer Data Base
> Instant Hyperlinks
> Fast Acquisition through Downloads
> Easy, Fast Updating - especially useful for text books
Are you getting ready for the ebook boom? It's taking its time coming, but it will come!
About the Author
Paul -the soarING- Siegel is a provocative Internet speaker and author of HELPFULNESS MARKETNG, an ebook stressing learning, cooperation and community. Learn about it at (http://www.learningfountain.com/). Subscribe to newsletter, LearningFOUNT, by sending blank email to: mailto:LearningFOUNTfirstname.lastname@example.org.