Monday, July 4, 2011

Books, eBooks, eReaders and Tablets

Last week, I engaged in some interesting discourse with both @Wamathai and @SonyK_Imani. It was about our preferences for book print editions or digital editions [e-Books].



Note: In this post, e-books will hereafter be referred to as eBooks, e-readers as eReaders and print editions of books as simply books.

On the same day, CNN highlighted the findings of a study where more Americans now buy eReaders than tablets. BNET has gone ahead and put this report [PDF, 774KB] in perspective, largely because the new shift is bad news for tablet makers, especially Apple.

Interestingly, Amazon in a press release says that it's now selling more e-Books than print editions of books.

eBooks
Much has been said about digital editions of books. I still stand by my word about the convenience, unparalleled mobility, reading [many might not agree with me on this one], and interactive elements such as in-text search and embedded multi media.

As  I work on my book Counting Down the Days, my only option is to publish online, and unless something drastic happens to change my mind, I intend to publish subsequent books online. Online publishing affords one a global audience, timeless archiving of the work and highly cost effective publishing, marketing and distribution.

Tablets
ASUS Eee Pad Transformer TF101-B1 10.1-Inch Tablet Computer (Tablet Only)Reports and analysis aside, I love eBooks. In fact, I cannot wait for the day I finally get my hands on an ASUS eee Pad Transformer. I really need it to read eBooks among other things [writing, listening to music, streaming radio, access Internet, watch movies etc] and have already made my intentions public in that regard.

The thing with tablets for me, is that they can multi-task. The screens are full color. A definite plus for the ASUS Transformer is the physical keyboard [docking station] that makes typing easier, adds more ports to the device and enhances battery life. The keyboard makes it a media creation vs a media consuming device.

Other Tablet devices do exist, notably the Motorola Xoom, the Samsung Galaxy Tab, Toshiba Thrive, Acer Iconia and Apple iPad. I just had to say a bit more about my personal favorite.

eReaders
Kindle, Wi-Fi, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology - includes Special Offers & Sponsored ScreensaversThe Amazon Kindle tops the list on this one, although it is faced with worthwhile contenders in the name of Barnes & Noble Nook, Kobo eReader, Bookeen Cybook, Sony Reader and Pocketbook among others.

Wikipedia does have a very comprehensive comparison of all these eReaders. Every manufacturer seems to add more features with every new release, and the pricing is far much lower than for tablets.

3G Internet, Wifi, eInk, internal storage and integrated dictionaries seem to be fairly standard features.

Verdict
In light of all the above about  about books and devices used to read them, do you still swear by the traditional print book format? Have you embraced eBooks? And when it comes to reading them, do you prefer to use an eReader, a Tablet or a traditional desktop/laptop computer?