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Saturday, February 25, 2006

Whither the E-Book?

I, and my wife, share a huge bond. That's an interesting opening to a blog post, and it usually goes in the direction of talking about love, life, and kids. Well, we share those bonds, but we share another, less intimate love.A love for the written word.

Between us, we have thousands of books (literally). My wife is "old school" in that she loves the tangible paper book. She can go to Barnes and Noble and spend hundreds of dollars on tomes from varying genres. I have this same urge almost weekly. However, I loathe the tangible paper book. Loathe is an accurate word here, because I love to be portable. Portability is important to me. That's why I love electronic books.

Since January, I've bought eight e-books. I've read five of them, and am over halfway through the other three. I would estimate that since 2002, I have bought or downloaded 300 e-books. I carry my 100 or so favorites on an SD card on my Treo 650.

So why do I bring this up in a blog post? Because I am begging to spend my hard earned money on new books. Yet, inexplicably, many of the popular authors who write these days are not available in the format. Even more amazing to me is the few responses that I have gotten from authors when I have written them to inquire about the subject.

I can list many books that are on my reading list: Glenn Reynolds' new book, Michelle Malkin's "In Defense of Internment", Rod Dreher's "Crunchy Cons", Kate O'Beirne's "Women Who Make the World Worse", etc. I have personally written to the publishers of these and more authors as well as the authors themselves. Out of twenty or so inquiries, only one wrote back to me, saying that "they were unaware of their publisher's policies".

Now this is a pet peeve of mine, and I don't expect anyone else to care really. Heck, I have only a handful of readers anyway, and this blog is only here to give me an outlet to express my thoughts at the moment. So... here's my thought for the moment:

If you are an author, and you want to sell more books, make them available as e-books. Not DRM-infested Adobe Reader books, but Microsoft Reader, and Palm e-Reader. Portability. In my pocket. I read one to two hours per day. Most of it is done in the dark, in my bed, with a backlit screen. This is my preference, for the sake of sheer convenience and portability. This is the same phenomenon that has allowed podcasting to become so popular. This reader has been reading e-books though since before Napster was a blip on the RIAA radar screen. That is to say, I've been reading these things longer than podcasting was even a concept, and I know I'm not alone.

So, Mr. Reynolds and Dreher, Ms. Malkin and O'Beirne, and the dozens of others out there who have a story to sell... I, and lots of others like me, are a market just waiting to consume your wares. All you have to do is make them available. As far as my wife goes, she reads e-books too, but I'm sure she prefers the old fashioned kind. To each their own.


.: posted by Dave 7:20 PM

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