More and more ebook readers

The ambiguity in the title of this post is deliberate: only just over two years since the first generation of the Amazon Kindle went on sale in the United States (only), ebook devices have become more and more popular, and people who favour this particular form of reading have become more and more numerous. For those who are serious about ebooks, the choice is now between the Kindle itself (now about to go into the third generation), the Sony Reader, the iLiad, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, and of course the Apple iPad (though this is more than an ebook reader). In addition, the associated ebook stores of some of these devices also offer software (‘apps’) that simulate the devices on the iPad: so for example, as an iPad owner you can download the Kindle app and then use the iPad as a Kindle, including the facility for direct downloads of Amazon Kindle ebooks.

So now the question is beginning to arise as to whether ebooks will become the standard format for reading, and what impact this will have on paper or hard copy versions. I don’t know if I am at all typical, but right now I am purchasing and reading lots of ebooks; if on reading a book I feel that I may want to read it again I buy the paper version as well. I don’t think that bookshelves will disappear; but it is possible that sales will decline for a while before becoming stable at a lower figure.

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3 Comments on “More and more ebook readers”

  1. I purchased a second generation kindle during my last semester in DCU, and used it to download various reading material. There were limitations with certain file sizes, but overall saved me money and time not having to print (and never having to lose my notes scribbled on a page next to the text). I imagine the pdf reading software will continue to improve (since it was non existent on the 1st gen Kindle). As for limitations, I too find myself downloading more books then I would usually buy in stores, they tend to me much cheaper and you do it all from your PC/laptop/kindle. The only catch being when you want to share the book with someone…you have to give them your kindle. So it is not like letting someone borrow a book. There are ways around this, I use a great open source software program called Calibre ( that allows you to read virtually all ebook formats. For students I would love to see a push for the majority of required readings to be provided via pdf or similar ebook readable format (and push aways from text books). Soon we will see ebooks for sale in lidl for next to nothing, and software is already there to convert to other formats, so sharing will not be a problem for most. Some writers are not publishing their work in ebook format, but they may be comfortable enough not to need to, but the vast majority are embracing this and I can already see a boom in self-publishing via the ebook format. I think this is all positive and still only the beginning. Maybe I am not the only one now who goes into bookstores, sees something I like, but waits to buy it for my kindle since I know it will be $10-$15 cheaper.

  2. Vincent Says:

    Hmm, I’m not so sure. The thing about Apple is that it pitches itself well into the upper end of the middle class, pricewise. And all of these readers are are attempting to steal Apples thunder.
    What you are missing in all this is the margins that the publisher and bookseller have. And where they are presenting a woe is me stance at the moment. But the reality is that their unit cost is for pennies.

  3. College Girl Says:

    Nice post. I agree with vincent though about Apple.

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