Goodbye Bookcases, Hello E-books – Android in Action

Google Opens New Chapter With iPhone, Android Book Search
Google has made available its electronic library of classic books (around 1.5 million) to users of Apple’s iPhone and T-Mobile’s G1 with a mobile site optimized for the browser type both phones use (Google Android). Amazon also is looking to port its Kindle collection to mobile platforms as well.
Googles Book Search has already been acclaimed as one of the best e-resources around. With this technology going mobile, one cannot but help feel that all forms of human information are migrating to the information retention giant.
The question – how do you feel will this influence readership and literature accessibility. Will people find themselves reading more often, via their mobiles/handhelds (which implies that you’re taking 1.5 million books with you, any where you go)- or – will conventional book reading survive this concept?
Most importantly, how will this effect the conventional publishing/print/paper industry? Is Google nailing the coffin on another ‘age old’ business model? Or should I keep my bookcase, just in case?
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  • Hi Zohaib,
    Conventional book reading will survive and thus conventional publishing as well, maybe not in its grandeur of it was used to be, but it will, simply because there’re plenty of people who don’t like to read from screens and love the charisma and charms of paper books.
    Best regards,
    Gianluigi Cuccureddu

  • E-books won’t kill off paper books anytime soon. But they will eventually take over the market share. Personally, I’m a big fan of E-books, but I’m waiting for them to become a bit more usable and cheaper.
    It’s true that e-books currently have a lot of drawbacks. But I’m sure that will change. Display technologies will improve to lessen eye strain. Battery technology will allow devices to go longer between charges. Changes in formats might be alleviated with an personal online ‘library’ record kept by some 3rd party. It would keep a record of e-book ownership, so you can access an online library, no matter what format changes happen in the future. Or perhaps you will just subscribe to an online library, which gives you access to as many books as you can read in a month for a monthly fee.
    I imagine the fragility and expense of e-book readers being solved eventually. They may become so cheap that you will get a free reader with a new release of the a best seller? Remember how expensive calculators were back in the 70’s? Now they are given away for free everywhere! And while books can withstand the elements better than electronics, That doesn’t keep lots of people from taking their cell phones and Blackberry’s to the beach!

  • Ebooks are great where the printed version is not available; i.e. back issues, old books, obscure authors, and let’s not forget: expensive books that one steals the ebook versions of.
    However, even on the umpteenth re-read of a good novel I find myself flipping back and forth among pages to read again and enjoy particular passages.
    Ebook versions of magazines and technical journals? Heck no. The only way to read reference manuals is to flip and hold open multiple pages.

  • Nothing can come close to reading an actual book… No batteries. True random access. Available anywhere. I’ve read an entire novel on a Dell Axim, and I never want to do anything like that again; it’s a novelty that soon wears off.
    If you haven’t tried to read a book on the computer, it can get very uncomfortable. It also strains the eyes to read that way for long periods of time.
    The digital format is great for research and distribution, but put me down for an actual book.
    And if your bookshelf contains books that you’ve already read, look for places you can donate them: Retirement communities, VA Hospitals, the Elk’s, Goodwill… There are also used bookstores that will buy your old books, but there’s more value in donating them than to let them sit on a shelf.

  • Hi Zohaib,
    I think the question of whether people will continue to read books is independent of whether they read them on a Kindle, on the ‘net, or in hard copy.
    The bigger issue is whether people will read books at all, or at what rate. I am a reader; I love to read, but I have to admit that these days I read books only under duress. I’d much rather read the newspaper (both hard copy and various papers on the ‘net), magazines (ditto), or book reviews. I just don’t have the time for books, and I also find myself growing impatient with 250-page books that have only 30 pages of “meat” in them.
    The even larger question is whether people will read more or less, never mind the form or the content or the length. My guess is not, but I’ll leave that to the pundits.

  • Traditional books;
    Don’t need batteries.
    Can be taken anywhere, without batteries.
    Can be dropped without damage.
    Can get wet without electronic damage.
    Can be used 50 years from now, without any upgrades.
    Sorry, I’ll take a real book over a glorified computer anytime…

  • To make e-books really fly, they will need a dual-display device that you flip open like a book so that it shows two pages at once … and your “next” or “last” choice moves you two pages forward or back instantly.
    Until they go at least this far in replicating the basic book-reading experience they are going to have trouble making real inroads.
    After that, they will also need a stylus and digital ink you that you can make notes in the margin of your e-book.
    I’ve got a Kindle 1.0 and it’s no thrill … not bad, but I’d rather be holding a dead-tree book.
    The device I am describing would also be salvation for daily newspapers.

  • Marcel De Jong

    I’m divided on this topic. I have an ebook reader, which I love to use, and I have a large bookcase filled with books (and many more next to it)
    The downside for paperbooks is that they are heavy, hard to take with you. Where my ereader fits in my pocket.
    Indeed it needs power, but about 7000 page turns before the battery runs out, even the most avid bookreader won’t reach that in a single day, I’m sure. 🙂
    On the other hand, you can’t easily search on an stand-alone ebook reader (but you can on a computer). Keyword searches are nearly impossible to do on dead-tree.
    I don’t think dead-tree editions will disappear. But I do think that it would be a valid option for out-of-print editions of books, to be offered as an ebook version. Or for starting writers, their books can be offered as ebooks for pretty cheap and if their works catch on, the publishers can offer it in print as well next to the ebook versions.
    Similar to what podiobook authors do. Offer their books in audio form, and sell a print version if there is demand.

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