Ebook articles often refer to the iPod moment. Is it just around the corner? There is much debate on the subject and the comparison is inevitable.
Ebook readers aren't mainstream here in Australia. They are still way too expensive and a luxury item (The Iliad sells for $1299 with the 'cheaper' version at $1099 and prices generally start from $500). Sourcing content can be problematic, particularly for new releases and don't even start me on the various ebook formats out there! It's bloody confusing.
As you know, I've been playing with ebooks for this blog - I have Mobipocket Reader and the Sony ebook portal loaded on the computer. Through Mobipocket you have access to Fictionwise and 13 odd ebook vendors. Sony just links to Sony but they did partner with Google to load 500,000 public domain books for free. You can access that content as well through Project Gutenberg. It's there for the taking.
Anyway, I have to laugh whenever I read about the iPod moment. I've only had an iPod for 15 months and promptly loaded iTunes onto the laptop, copying favourites songs from my extensive CD collection and spending a small fortune on new and old songs (especially those classics in my extensive tape collection!). The good thing about iTunes is you can listen to a song for 20 seconds or so and download it. Click, Click, Click it's all easy and accessible. The Genius application is a killer but at the same time it's introduced me to other music, which I've enjoyed. It's also cost a small fortune over time but as a music lover, it gets used frequently. As does the Mastercard.
Ebook portals offer pretty much the same process, but their preview functionality still needs work. US$11.99 for this book, specials, collections, free books. It's click, click and click and all that content is downloaded. Just like iTunes. Only dearer!
There's another problem. The average song time is 4 minutes. You can download 15 songs and have an hours entertainment. Books take time to read, particularly when you are a busy professional. So I have the dilemma, a few easy clicks, and I have the content (and an ever increasing Mastercard bill!). I already have more than a dozen printed books waiting to be read. I now have the same on the e-reader or in the ebook portals on the laptop (for those that won't transfer to the e-reader). I don't need more content. I need a time management system! NOW!
Oh, and if you can have a word in the ears of the nice people at Mastercard, I'd be most grateful....