22 June 2010
Where are all these e-readers?
OK I'm signed up to dozens and dozens of online newsletters, websites, and read more magazines and industry announcements than I can keep track off. If you believe everything you read, the future is e, the printed book is dead. If it's not dead, it's for special purposes, a gift, a keepsake, a premium product. Don't get me wrong, I quite like the idea of the book being a premium product. I also like that train of thought that says "want a printed book? go to the library!" of course with libraries also offering ebooks, it gives the reader the choice of format. Some publishers have already spoken to me about e being another format not a competing product i.e. you have the hardcover, the paperback, the e. It's so readers can have whatever they want to read in the format they want it in. Now I've subscribed to that theory for years - give the reader what they want. But where are all these e-readers?
Apparently there's zillions in the world now. OK I exaggerate but here I am in New York and for days I've been scouting around for people reading on devices. I've seen the printed book but no Nook (except advertised outside a Barnes & Noble store), no iPad (except in the Apple and tech stores), no Kindle (except for advertising on a subway and even that was for "e-reading accessories"). I've been in airports, on planes, on the subway and in this city of how many million people, not one person has been reading on an e-device. I strolled around parks, university areas (NYU), in and out of cafes, restaurants. Not one e-reading device have I seen. Am I blind? This is starting to get disturbing unless everyone just reads from them at home. Have seen plenty of books but nothing electronic yet.
I have another week in the US and that will include the American Library Association's conference and exhibition in Washington DC. Hopefully I will see a few e-readers around. I thought by now I'd have least seen the iPads around town. But zilch, nothing, na-da.
I'm on the hunt for those e-readers people. At least those that take them out in public. Will keep you in the loop as to what I uncover.
Signing off from the city that has a population of some 19,541,453 (thanks Google) but no e-reader yet seen.