Monday, October 25, 2010

E-readers present e-books on e-ink screens

The e for electronic became popular with terms such as e-mail. Today, the letter e, followed by a hyphen, precedes various nouns that name an electronically driven device or users thereof. An e-customer, for example, is a person shopping and buying online. An e-reader, however is not a human being reading electronically displayed text, but an electronic device providing that text—typically a page from an e-book.

Columnist David Pogue describes the rise and growing popularity of e-readers and e-books in a recent TechnoFiles article [1], but argues that printed books will not be replaced by e-books. First, he identifies existing technical problems such as the slowness of e-ink while “turning” a page on the screen. Further, an e-book may not be readable on e-readers from different companies. He points out that one will probably not be able to read an e-book in maybe twenty years or two-hundred years. Even if you are not around then, wouldn't it be nice if future generation can have access to the e-books you have written as an e-author?

Then there is the sensing and social networking issue. E-books don't smell, don't have beautiful front or back covers and also leave your library shelves empty. Due to copy-protection you cannot even borrow them to your e-friends.

[1] David Pogue: The Trouble with E-readersElectronic books are still far too crude to replace ink and paper. Scientific American November 2010, 303 (5), page 36.

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