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Monday, 1 August 2011

Once you start down the dark path - forever will it dominate your destiny...


Books by Katmere under
Attribution 2.5 Generic License
Until a few weeks ago, I was one of those people who always said that they would use an eBook reader but that the tactile experience of holding a ‘real’ paper book would always be king. There was something about the feel of the pages that you just couldn’t replicate. Right?

A week ago, we bought a second Kobo and I've loaded it with the usual collection of old public domain books. I also have newer releases that I want to read without waiting a year for the soft-cover. That counts as a point already – lower price (slightly) and quicker release.
What really pushed me past the tipping point was reading while holding my three month old son. I was holding the Kobo (this is not an ad, it’s just what we bought), and I realized that I wouldn’t be able to hold a paperback or hardcover the same way. I would have to hold a finger against the spine to hold it open to the right page and it would be tricky when I got to the part of the book where the spine is cracked. Most of our books get re-read several times and, sooner or later, they start to fall apart.
And forget about turning a paper page without waking my son…
As I slid my thumb over to change a page, I realized that I had crossed over to the dark side of the – umm – market? The convenience is hard to ignore. I still love our personal library with its hundred linear feet of shelving. It will get one further expansion when we move it into the new office downstairs but that's the end. We'll probably do most of our reading with eBooks except for series that we have already started on hardcopy.
I don’t think eBooks are going to fade away. They will probably consolidate into one universally accepted format but I think it is a bit late to keep saying they are future. They are already past the point of no return. Hard-copy sales continue to plummet and eSales continue to climb. Check the published quarterly returns of any major book seller.
Putting it another way - How many of you still buy vinyl records?

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