Monday, December 10, 2007

The Future of Books

Every few months some company releases the equivalent of an eReader, and sparks a discussion about whether or not society will ever adopt the idea of a paperless world. In the end, people ultimately agree that readers will never adopt the technology because nothing beats an actual book.

The talk of the town in recent months has of course been Amazon’s little contraption, Kindle. It’s too expensive, and people still are not quite ready to grab onto this kind of technology, but I for one believe it’s the closest thing to the reality of eBooks that consumers have ever seen. I think it’s quite sad how little librarians have done to campaign for the little device.

A pretty large conscientious of librarians say that books are here to stay for some time; I’m not in this conscientious. I still believe that one day people will adopt eBooks. For some time, I’ve believed that the publishing business was on the verge of a new median in literature, and that new median will rest in interactivity.

I think one day they'll be wi-fi equipped (with built in Internet Browsers and one day full blow GUI operating systems), and we'll get Blogs and RSS feeds we subscribe to automatically once they are updated—much as they are with Kindle…but I’m going to go a step further and say that I think this same kind of technology is going to keep authors literally at readers hands, and they'll be publishing a lot more novellas (if there is any median out there that can bring the novella back to their glory days it is these kind of readers).

I believe in the future every library will have free wi-fi and people will walk in with their readers and automatically their will be the database of every book they can put on their reader. I don't believe we'll see the end of books for a long, long time (if ever), but I do believe these devices will be as common to some people as an iPod. And I believe that when they are, books will change; we'll start seeing more books for free, but embedded with advertisements that readers can click on and go to the Internet right on their eReader.

I think we are already seeing a trend in people’s reading habits, and that trend is they like to read more content in smaller doses. I think eBooks fit perfectly into this trend.

The problem with eBooks so far, in my opinion, is they have predominantly targeted the traveling businessman; this market is too limited. The future of eBooks rest in the company that can make something for the rest of us. Something that will let a college professor beam his lecture notes to every student in class who has a reader; something that will let a television viewer instantly receive a recipe they just saw on a Today Show cooking segment; something that will let a person stand next to a bus stop and automatically receive the bus schedule delivered to their reader; and finally, something that let’s you not just see a Wikipedia website, but the entire Internet. The technology is here for such a device, but not enough has been done to grab a hold of it.

No comments: