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Slouching Towards E-books

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Will the E-book replace ink and paper books?
No.
However, get used to seeing E-books share retail space along with a 1,500 page War and Peace.
Portable electronic books are not about to invade the business or consumer world quickly as the Internet, cell phone, and PDA which have complicated and cluttered our desks and our lives. And don't expect the E-book to encroach your bedside table just yet, either.
However, do expect over the next ten years to see a hybrid industry of books both in print and digital formats. We likely will see books published in two versions at two different costs to serve more markets.
Some believe the E-book readers are the next generation of readers -- the same who readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter series -- in hardcopy.
"The real problem is that people read less and less and prefer other forms of entertainment or other channels to get content (say the web). I have a Sony E-reader but I only use it for proposals and still prefer to read an actual book when I read for pleasure," said a publishing editor.
The E-book Challenge
The striking difference -- and possibly off-putting - is that many feel the E-book is distancing simply by its form: It is plastic, hard and digital and therefore impersonal and cold. Holding an E-book cuddled up by the fire is just not quite the same.
This is a serious and real challenge for the manufacturers. There is a large market of dedicated readers they must try and reach in order to gain acceptance across the reading public. Otherwise the E-book is nothing more than another occasional convenience.
In 2000 when I was a Research Director at Gartner Group, I predicted that many enterprises implemented projects in an effort to rival the efficiencies touted by larger players, however they struggled to gain the customer acceptance required to justify the costs.
How much?
Most people read print and use electronic devises to search, browse and discover. E-book reading technology may be acceptable to many people as an additional book-type device, but only if the price is right. The benefits have to meet the reader's expectations.
The E-book industry is crowded with more gadgets than buyers. Readers can choose various features from the Kindle 2 by Amazon, Digital Book by Sony, Sony Reader by Sony, iLiad by iRex Technologies, Hanlin eReader by Jinke, and Cybook Gen3 by Bookeen.
Balancing the whistles and bells with reality is yet another hurdle for buyers and sellers. The features of electronic books will have to meet the "Pain Threshold" (PT) test. In order to pass PT, the features must offer readers a unique experience they can't get from a real book. A good comparison to E-book attributes is similar to considering discount store coupons; the percentage off doesn't matter if the product is something I normally wouldn't buy anyway?
I mean, do I really care if I receive Giraffe Daily on my Wireless Sony E-reader?
Reading is much more personal than any technological device on the market today.

Geri Spieler is the author of, Taking Aim At The President, published by Palgrave Macmillan. Taking Aim is the true story of Sara Jane Moore, the only woman to ever fire a bullet at an American President.

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