Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Thoughts on "The Bookless Future: What the Internet is Doing to Scholarship" written by David A. Bell

Our President and Publisher here at Presbyterian Publishing got his hands on this article and has begun to pass it around the office. When I first read the title, "The Bookless Future", I assumed that it was going to be some gloom and doom article about the end of the printed word and how technology was just going to mess everything up. I was pleasantly surprised. The writer describes the need for publishers to be more creative in how we think about selling our products and in what form. We might just need to create a new category. Hardback, paperback and an e-copy. This is not a new concept. For years different companies tried to sell these ebooks. They were these thin tablet devices that were created for the sole purpose of reading e-books. It was a total flop. The units were cheap and hard to read from. The screen resolution was painful for reading ad page let alone a whole book. This writer specifically speaks about the a new device called the Sony LIBRIe. Its currently only available in Japan.
If you visit eBay! you should be able to find one up for auction. What makes this electronic book different from the past attempts is it uses a cutting edge technology called "electronic ink", in which the screen is composed of tiny "microcapsules" that can turn black or white through the manipulation of an electronic field. In basic terms it makes the picture very clear and comfortable to the human eye. From what I understand this technology makes these devices very readable even in full sunlight. Almost like the real thing. But is it really? I'm not sure how easily this will be adopted in this country. The first version is supposedly going to cost around $400. How many people do you know are going to plunk down that kind of money for an electronic book when they could buy almost two PSP's. It will be interesting to see what happens.

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