Friday, October 24, 2008

E-book readers have no future

E-books have a glowing future, or so I hope, but the buzz about this e-book reader vs. that one vs. the one that's promised for next year is misguided, I think. Why? Because no matter how interestingly e-book readers evolve, they're just a stopgap.

Small(ish), portable(ish) computers - laptops, notebooks, PDAs, cell phones; let's call them SPCs - are also evolving. The need and market for SPCs is greater and more urgent than the need and market for e-book readers, so the evolutionary pressure is greater for SPCs. The current progress in e-book readers is just a byproduct of the technological progress in computers in general and SPCs in particular.

Not too long from now, everything the best e-book reader then available can do will be available in software form on SPCs. Instead of buying an e-book reader, you'll buy (or otherwise acquire) e-book reader software for your preferred SPC. By then, e-book readers will be quaint old electronic gadgets of interest only to collectors.


Christine Vyrnon said...

I believe you are correct. Also... it will take a Long Time before paperbacks are upstaged.

David said...

Hi, Christine.

Yes, that book feel and smell. Maybe eventually our little computers will be able to mimic those, as well.

Even then, I don't know if opening a new book onscreen will have the same feeling of excitement and anticipation one gets from a physically new book that looks, feels, and smells different from all the others.

Lahdeedah said...

I neeeeeed the smell of new books.

Also, is SPC a new, official acronym? Can I now start using it in casual conversation? I just want to know :)

David said...

Feel free to use SPC. However, I just made it up, so no one will understand you! :)

Maybe we'll have e-book readers that will feel and smell just like a new book.

Anonymous said...

Whence to me the nobility?