I’m finally reading my first eBook…and I’m really enjoying the experience. It may sound odd for someone was has been advocating eBooks for the last 18 months to have only now read their first eBook but it was all about content. As a bookseller the overwhelming majority of my reading is done in advance of publication so eBooks have not been an option until I discovered NetGalley.
My first eARC (Advanced Reading Copy) is Michael Koryta’s THE CYPRESS HOUSE (which coincidentally I have a physical proof of too). I wanted to read the book on an eInk screen but the BeBook eReader our store purchased 18 months ago doesn’t support Adobe Digital Editions. I’m not sure if updating the software will make a difference but to do so sounds way too fiddly. So our BeBook is pretty much out-of-date and obsolete after only a year and a half.(There’s a lesson in that for bookshops wanting to sell eReaders).
I don’t have an iPad and there is no way I could read a book on my netbook as it is just not suitable. So reluctantly I started reading the book on my iPhone using the BlueFire App. I say reluctantly because the iPhone is much smaller than an eInk eReader and Tablets are bigger again. I was also concerned about battery life as my iPhone is notorious for sucking a lot of power very quickly. My concerns though were not warranted. I have had absolutely no problem reading on the iPhone screen and actually really enjoy the fact that I can read and page turn all one-handed. The backlit screen has had no negative effects and the battery use is surprisingly light. (I could also listen to the cricket and read at the same time on the same device!).
This leads me to what I think is going to be the big thing that leads to eBooks really exploding: breaking down people’s misconceptions of what reading an eBook is like. People are always wary of new things and dismiss them straight away but eventually people come around. Look at typing using mobile phone keys or track pads instead of the mouse. It was different, people didn’t like it but they adapted. It is the same with eBooks because the reading experience does not change dramatically between print and digital it’s just the way you do it that is slightly different. Readers love there print books and I myself will always want to have books in my home but once more and more people try an eBook for the first time more will be converted. Not all but I think a majority and it won’t take much.
We always have customers in the shop who need a book that instant either for school, university or book club and if we have sold out they have to wait a week or go somewhere else. But if those people are given the eBook as an option then half the battle is already won. They will give it a try and they will begin to know what the experience is like and that it is not a foreign experience. Then the convenience factor will be the clincher. Being able to take as many books as you want away on holidays without filling up half your luggage will be every book-a-holic’s dream come true (although airlines need to pull their heads out of the sand when it comes to electronic/mobile devices and flying).
No wonder there are some huge predictions about what size the eBook market will be.