3 Things eBooks Need to Really Catch On
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eBooks are really starting to catch on. The price of eReaders are dropping. The technology is becoming more user friendly. Software and cross comparability between devices are readily available and user friendly. Gone are the days when I won a hot new book in ebook format and I looked at it like a punishment rather than a blessing because I couldn't sit in front of a desktop to read it rather than take it with me.
Still, despite all of these good things that are happening there is still a lot that is lacking. Here are 3 suggestions that I think would make eBooks move to the next stage of development. We can call it eBooks 2.0.
Please note that this particular gripe/suggestion does not apply to all eBooks. Usually the high cost is for new releases and very popular books. I have managed to amass a very respectable classics library for little to no cost. My suggestions and gripes are not a reason not to get an eReader but rather are suggestions that could make the market better.
I was looking around the Amazon Kindle store at some books I wanted to add to my Kindle and I saw something that fascinated me. I could get a lot of the physical copy books for cheaper than the eBooks. What is more, why would I want to spend another $10 per book for the Dresden Files series (A great series. I recommend it.) if I have already invested in the first 5 or 6 books for the physical versions. I know there are arguments for the portability of an eBook reader, but I am a starving student and soon I will be a starving teacher. Why would I drop more money on books I already have or even on books that I could get for cheaper?
The deal here is the publishers. They are use to raking in a lot of money with books. I don't blame them for wanting to make good money either. They are a for profit business. The issue is that eBooks cost nothing to publish. The only thing that they cost is the royalties that stores like Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Sony, Kobo, Apple or Google charges. Still, if the cost of printing and shipping the physical books is cut out, that is quite a chunk of change saved. How about passing some of that savings on to the customer? Give me an incentive to move almost exclusively to eBooks. This, more than anything I think, will drive the move towards eBooks.
2) Digital Copies
Music and Movie companies get this idea. Now with some DVDs and CDs you get a digital copy with your physical copy. I am as sad as the next guy to see bookstores disappearing, How about those bookstore fighting back? What if physical paper books came with a free or heavily discounted eBook? I like to see a full bookshelf with well read books as much as the next guy, but when I have to choose between portability and space it is a hard call. Why not incentivize the purchasing of both types of media? Then I can have the best of both worlds. A paper book I don't need power to read while I am at home and looks great on my shelves, AND a portable eBook that I can carry with me when I am out and about.
Books change. Probably not as much as Star Wars and E.T. does when George Lucas gets his hands on them, but they do. Spelling errors are found. Revisions are made. Chapters are added even. Well, it is hard to update a printed book when this happens. A new edition is printed and either the old books becomes a collectors item, or as more commonly happens, the book is junk. Now this isn't as a big a deal in novels and the like, but in Encyclopedias, dictionaries, thesauruses, reference books and textbooks this is a crime. The cost of these is just going up and the internet is in some ways rending them obsolete. As a student, I especially get frustrated by the once a semester wallet rape (sorry, it is crude but accurate) that takes place when I need to shell out for books that may just become obsolete next semester depending on the whim of the publisher, the school or the professor.
The beauty of eBooks however is that they are easily updated. As mentioned above the cost of making eBooks is less than printing as well, so the publishers can still make lots of money while offering textbooks and other referenced and educational material without breaking peoples hearts and wallets. Additionally, this gives the students, schools and libraries that bought them book that are valid for years to come.
...kids were to go to school and get a basic tablet or eReader instead of a huge bag of books that will cause serious harm to their backs. Imagine if schools could just buy books once per student at a lower cost than what they pay now. Imagine quality education that stays with kids into adulthood delivered through technology.
Impacts and Implications
I argue these changes from several prospective. First and foremost from the prospective of the techie in me. Second from the prospective of the entrepreneur and capitalist in me. Third from the concerned citizen and conservationist.
I love seeing technology advancing and moving forward. I love seeing economies succeeding and providing a valued product to a market that demands it. I love to see money saved for students. I love seeing trees saved and paper and ink not being dumped into landfills for not reason.
As such, I publish this article in hopes that someone will read it and apply it or read it and pass it on to someone who can apply it. I would love get make money from these ideas. I am rather poor after all. But the fact is that I would rather see these ideas implemented and the world changed for the better than them not being used at all. So share this article. Perhaps if we the consumers demand the change the market will evolve to fulfill it. Stranger things have happened. Here is hoping eBooks 2.0 happens.