I have just received my new Kindle electronic reader. I find it very easy to use, easy on the eye and reads very much like a book.
I have loved having books all of my life and so what made me want to purchase an E-reader. The advantages are many, it’s very light and compact, you can hardly tell you are holding it and as I do a fare amount of reading in bed late at night that’s important. Another selling point is that many books that are classed as classics can be obtained from Amazon free of charge and even new books are cheaper to buy than in a printed book form. I’ve read somewhere that this year will be looked back at as being the year when the way we read books showed a radical change. They are already saying that the E-Reader is the fastest selling electric item of the year. Statistics are showing that women are leading the way when it comes to e-readers whilst more men are using tablets. Does this mean the end of the book and what is the future likely to hold? Before looking into this question lets discover how our book has evolved.
Before books were discovered people would read from scrolls in the same way as we would study a roll of film. Problem here was there was no way you could mark where you were in a scroll, similar to the old video take where you had a beginning and an end with no means of looking at a particular scene unless you scrolled through to find it from the beginning of the film. Then in 1440 Johan Gutenberg was inspired to combine a wine screw (used to press grapes or olives) with paper and hot type to create the first printing press. Books could now be reproduced quickly and cheaply, allowing for substantially lower costs and more widespread distribution. Books tended to be large and very heavy to carry about with you and I don’t think there would be many reading these books in bed
In the 1930s, the paperback book appeared, making printed goods a complete mass medium. So many more novels were printed in Paperback than in hardback. People buying hard back books tended to buy them more has a collectable item and something you would refer to many times over the years whilst paperback novels were mainly disposable after reading.
In the 1930s, the paperback book appeared, making printed goods a complete mass medium. The book world then became stratified with paperback at the bottom of the pile, aimed at mass distribution, hardcover’s in the middle as somewhat better produced and more durable, and collectible books, produced in small quantity and created as art objects to be appreciated by collectors. So if large segments of the population are moving to e-readers, what’s to become of the printed book? Is it the end of the road for something that has existed through most major technological changes? Will centuries of history go digital? For people who look at the book for its content, only concerned with what stories or facts are contained within the book. Those people don’t care about the distinction between paperback, hardback, or e-text. What they want is the words and sentences, not the other stuff that comes along with the book. Those people tend to see books as information vessels to be discarded once the information has been consumed, and then yes I think it is the end of the book for some. I would still buy a book that was richly illustrated or one I would use on a regular basis for reference and it has already been suggested that the printed book would in future be bought as an art form because of its beauty and value, but sales of paperbacks I think will show a steady decline.
So what is the future for us e-reader’s. I’ve been considering this and in the process have done a little research on the web and I’m getting very excited by the prospect. You are already able to highlight items of interest within the e-book, you can also make notes and share your highlights and notes on your social media formats like facebook. Every time you purchase a book it is noted and future books of similar form can be suggested to you by Amazon. Future software will enable a group of readers in a book club or group of friends to see notes from other members running in the margin of their own book.
I think future developments on the illustrations area could be very exciting. For instance you may be reading a murder mystery that took place in an old castle and instead of just seeing an illustration of the castle you will be able to step inside and by moving around each room and investigate the evidence and for someone in the future reading Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island they will be able to investigate the island for themselves. I can see the e-reader getting more involved in the games field. I have played search and find games where finding items in a room can lead to more clues, and this process could run alongside a story you may be reading where finding items in an illustration could reveal more of the story you are reading.
I recall watching the first of the Harry Potter films and when harry read a newspaper thee pictures moved and talked, with this new technology it’s just a matter of times before the include short YouTube like films into E-newspapers that can be read on the Ipad.
We are just at the threshold of a totally new experience in our reading I believe and if it gets more young people into reading books then it will be well worth it.
It will have an effect on how book shops operate I have no doubt but I am convinced that new and exiting retail outlets will follow on. For instance two of my pleasures are drinking coffee and reading. There is no reason why in the future these two actions could not be combined on our high streets. Electronic Tablets set into coffee tables could allow customers the chance to browse books whilst enjoying a coffee. Also more of our newspapers are being installed in e-reader form for a small annual fee and it would be possible for a coffee shop to have all of these publications available to customers for a very small charge. Just one of the future schemes we could be seeing once this new form of technology gets established.
But for now its time to relax in my virtual beach hut and get back to my Kindle.
Below are just a few new inovations possible using the new technowlodgy
Heres a short introduction to the Kindle 4 which I've just purchased