From David Pogue’s Review of the iPad -

There’s an e-book reader app, but it’s not going to rescue the newspaper and book industries (sorry, media pundits).

Well, he's probably not wrong in the sense that movies in a book form factor have largely displaced the demand for text.

That said, I've personally purchased a good deal more books (here, "books writ large") recently because of my iPod. I've sailed through a few junk novels (vampires and WoW fantasy), Pat Conroy's The Water is Wide (horrible job editing the eBook, however, RosettaBooks), part of Pygmy from that Fight Club guy (a little too hard core for me to finish), short story from Frank Herbert, a double issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact, etc etc., as well as a few books for young'uns that I've managed to share.

The key is that it's lots easier to read when you're accidentally carrying these books around with your calendar, notebook, mail handler, and mp3 player. If the iPad is mobile at all, those who do read will read more.

And more importantly to book publishers (and this is where Pogue misses the boat), it's a lot harder to buy a used eBook than a used codex (ie, paper book). The iPod/Kindle/iPad/iPhone platforms all allow strict DRM, both in software and in physical tipping points (how exactly would I share my eBooks? I can figure it out, but 1) it's illegal to pass files, I believe and 2) I can't toss 'em across the office when I'm done and not worry about when they come back).

The iPad will be much friendly to read on than the iPod and iPhone, even friendlier than the none too colorful (see Sega Game Gear commercial, above -- and that's the guy from My Name is Earl, ain't it?) Kindle. I've used my laptops a good deal, but a longer-lived battery and a friendly, hand-holdable device should encourage even more folk who like to read to read digitally and, I'll wager, to read more. And it's going to be much more likely that what they're reading is material they purchased directly from the publisher. Take that, local thrift store!

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,