After seeing this post about the death of the hardcover, and the projected future of electronic readers and books as high-priced luxury items, I'm left officially bummed out.

I can't imagine a future where you curl up with a handheld electronic gadget instead of a book. I guess I don't want to. For someone who publishes an e-zine, I'll openly admit to limiting my onscreen reading time because it hurts my eyes.

Do you guys thing crimeficreader is being melodramatic, or do you think the dreaded future is closer than we want to admit?

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Hey, I didn't predict the end - the blogger did!

But I tend to agree with you. I think the predicted end of the book is a long way away.

Although I did get an e-mail recently about Eco-Libris and I have to say part of me wanted to e-mail back and start a discussion about harmful plastic products clogging up landfill from kids toys (and all the cheap stuff we cycle through so quickly now all ends up somewhere) and part of me scratches my head at fighting with books over that - I mean, reading is a skill.

But some feel it's more important to fight the book business than to fight other forms of waste. I can watch the news about the latest murders, crimes, whatever, but this stuff? This makes me want to stick my head in the sand and wish it all away. And do a check to make sure none of the environmentalists are smokers, make sure they buy everything in bulk so they aren't contributing to packaging waste...
I use books on tape because I am low vision. But I still enjoy having a human come and read to me. I like having the book in my home. It is almost as good as curling up with a good book myself. I can't see anyone really getting used to that electronic form of book. The print is too small, and the light has to be just right for anyone to see it anyway.

As far as the waste issue, a good book will last for many years and make it to several readers, so that is its way of being recycled.
Love books on tape. They just bought 4 of mine. And I listen to them all the tiime in the car. Best thing against road rage I know of.
Books on tape are awesome, but let's also look at podcast novels, which are coming up in the world. Podiobooks.com is a great (free) resource for these, as is iTunes>>Podcasts>>Arts>Literature and if you're looking for the first of the crime downloads/listens, check out my (free) JACK WAKES UP over at sethharwood.com

I can ever attach the first chapter, right here. Very easy. But I still don't think the book is anywhere close to dead. (See me full post on this below in the thread.)
And I'm completely cracked up by the environmentally friendly comment. Factories everywhere sending toxins into the air and producing volumes of trash, toxic run-off all over the place and people are worrying about books that can be largely recycled.

Sure, be kind to Mother Earth, but there are many things worse than books.
The biggest stumbling block, I think, with e-books isn't whether a device can be made that will be easy on the eyes, with print size that can be enlarged for those who need large print, and possibly audio capability. Oh, and long-lasting batteries and water resistant and all those other things we'd want. That's just technology, and it's likely to improve and get cheaper over time. (I do think people like books as objects, and they'll continue - but I suspect the technology will get friendlier over time, particularly for books you want to read but don't necessarily have to have on your shelves.)

The real issue is - what can I play on my reader? any book, or just the ones this gadget's manufacturer sells? Will I have to buy all my books from one source? And if I think my sister would like it, can I loan it to her without somebody from the industry suing me? Will my gadget be disabled if I try to download a book from another source?

I know a lot of people here think books shouldn't be shared without the author getting paid, and some have even suggested we'd be better off if they self-destructed, but those are the kinds of things that have so far hindered acceptance of e-books. We have to think about what's in it for the reader first if it's going to take off. Most publishers forget to do that when it comes to e-books, at least thus far.

We have some netlibrary books in our academic library. Students curse when they find them in the catalog. To protect intellectual property, you can't print from them or copy a quote except by hand. To protect sales, only one person can use a book at a time. It might be locked - "checked out" - for that reason. So they end up having little of the ease of use of printed books and more hassles.

There was an interesting set of articles on the future of books at Forbes last year - well worth a browse. It's actually cheering reading.
It's simple Jon. Let's just start producing our books on giant etch-a-sketch pads.

: )
And not as challenging as smoke signals either. Plus, you don't have to worry about rescheduling a telling due to weather.
I think the issue over e-books will be more closely tied to the publishing industry than people might like, on both sides of the equation. It will depend very much on how the legislation is worded. Now, I know both Hollywood and the recording industry have put a lot of pressure on the Canadian government to make changes, but I tend to ignore the specifics because it doesn't really concern me. However, depending on how those laws are being drafted, they might encompass e-books. And if they do, I feel confident they'll be stringent and sharing will be a violation.

I suppose asking e-book publishers might be the thing to do. I also wonder if there's more marketability for them in different genres. I wonder if the sci fi community is more open to embracing new technology, for example. I say this because I think that the internet favours even noir over cozies. More e-zines seem to publish on the dark end of the spectrum and there seem to be more blogs devoted to noir and hardboiled as well. Could be wrong, as I've never done a survey, but it makes me wonder.
Hmmm, I said publishing industry and meant music industry. Ooops.
Hmm. Well, you'd think the sci-fi community would be more open to ebooks, but according to the epubs, they're not. They're positively Luddite about it.

I really don't see it as an either/or situation. There are too many people who like to hold a physical book in their hands when they read. I'm not at all averse to ebooks, I've read them on my computer, since I've never had the funds to buy an ereader (for goodness sake, as much as we all spend time in front of the computer reading stuff off the web, it's not that much different), but I also enjoy curling up with a paper book, so I'm not particularly prejudiced about it. Ebooks are actually much more likely to be adopted by upcoming generations than to be mass adopted by the current ones. I wish print publishers would adopt a greener business model, but at the same time, I know ebook readers have a limited lifespan and there will have to be some way developed of safely disposing of them before they can ever be considered green. Each one has its drawbacks.

I guess, putting it shortly, I don't see any reason to panic over it. Yeah, there's a piracy issue with ebooks, but the size of the readership isn't that big, comparatively speaking. There's room for both models in the business.
Hi, I love my eBook reader.

I was watching Oprah for the first time back in 1999, when she featured the RCA eBook reader. It seemed like a wonderful device, for it could hold 25 or more books at one time. I got it, and whew it worked! When I later became pregnant, I found I would turn to the eBook instead of my beloved printed books, because the eBook lit up, was the same size as a paperback, the print could be enlarged, the screen and contrast adjusted for light conditions, and the batteries lasted about 14 hours between charging, but I could also plug it in and read away when the batteries were charging. I found other uses for it, too, glad I didn't have to fumble with booklights or have the lamp on to disturb my husband.

We had our son in 2000 and I could rock him and read without having a light on bothering him. I could wake in the night and read without bothering anyone. I used it as a flashlight, too, which is really needed in Alaska in the winter when we get so few hours of daylight. I became an expert at changing diapers by the light of the eBook reader! RCA sold the eBook to the folks who publish TV Guide - Gemstar. They expanded the offerings and upgraded the device, though the size and basic use stayed the same. The big deal was now being able to connect via computer and USB to the eBookstore and download books at warp speed compared to the old built-in modem. And then we had better media, so can now store up to 70 books on one card and have unlimited libraries on those little media cards. And believe me, I do!

Traveling, I have the eBook on the dashboard and read away on those long, long trips through Alaska.

My son has grown, it's been more than 8 years since I bought that first eBook (it was $399 then, it's $129 U.S. now), and I can find almost anything I want to read as an e-version. I've still got a burgeoning library of hardcovers and paperbacks, but I find I keep using the eBook most of the time, except when out in the bright sun, for that is when it can't be read. But books can't be read in the dark -- and we have more dark than bright sun most of the year where I live.

I won the "Why I Love My eBook" 2nd prize in their international writing competition, when I described how the device lights up our dark Alaskan winters. It fits in my handbag. It's just the right size.

So yes, I do love my eBook. And when Bouchercon was coming, I was able to find nearly all of the author's works and pre-read them - on the eBook. Oh, and Gemstar sold the whole thing to eFictionwise -- who has a website and eBookstore where all of the offerings work on my eBook reader. Some authors were surprised their books were for sale as ebooks, but it is just like reading the paper versions. I can highlight, insert pages to jot notes, and it bookmarks where I am, so when I turn it on again, I'm right where I stopped. I can easily go forward or backwards and keep that bookmark. I can do markups and consult a dictionary, and read up to four books at the same time (opens four books, keeps the bookmarks where I finish reading in all of them).

Every book I buy is on an eBookshelf and I can delete them off my device when they're read, but still have them on my online eBookshelf or stored on the media cards. I have found the prices are very close to what they are at the bookstores and book clubs, though there is no shipping fees, they download instantly, and they are copyrighted and in a format that I've not been able to copy (I did try to back it up on my computer, but it wouldn't work!). But this is just to show that I was a diehard lifetime book lover to the extreme, with a huge library, and belonged to many book clubs as well. My favorite place to hang out was the bookstore. Having the eBook has changed a lot of that. I canceled the book clubs and focus on eBookwise. I've tried other format eBooks and could not get hooked. It was exactly like the etch-a-sketch size and what you are all talking about. But not the eBook reader.

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