Wednesday, July 09, 2008

GEEKS - Look away now...

Ok, I'm fed up with sensible arguments.

Here it is:

e-books don't work, will never work are just a stupid idea.

There will be no I-Pod moment.

Forget it.

Move on.

In the future people will still use forks. Why? Because they do the job.

Same for books. Sorry geeks.


  1. AnonymousJuly 09, 2008

    Conversation as the printing press was introduced... why would I want to read something if it's far more entertaining when someone performs it for me?

    You got more than a few years of tree pulp left... but it's time will come.

  2. AnonymousJuly 10, 2008

    I agree to a point, Matthew - books will never be replaced entirely by e-books. BUT at the same time you can't dismiss the e-book entirely. One area which it will work really well in is educational books - think of all those students' backs, not having to lug around all those textbooks.

    The main thing that annoys me about the whole ipod argument is that that ipod changed the way people listen to music - it made it easier. E-books won't make reading a more pleasant experience. A better comparison would be between CDs and LPs - record companies basically got customers to pay for the same thing in a different format, but again, there was an increase in quality which e-books are not offering at the moment. And for most people who love books, the enjoyment of a book goes way beyond the content.

    At the moment the most significant sales for e-books are trashy romance novels - so, basically there'll be a market for books that people are too embarrassed to buy from a bookshop.


  3. I woke up in the middle of the night *correction* I was woken in the middle of the night by a small child and decided I would delete this dumb post this morning.

    There is a discussion to be had about e-books etc but it bores me to tears now - I've thought it all through too many times (wouldn't you if your professional life depended on it?)

    We just opened another bricks and mortar bookshop so it's obvious where our thinking takes us.

    I'll try and make this my last comment on the subject - until the book as we know it is dead. Then we'll talk...

  4. Chris WildJuly 10, 2008

    Not everyone uses forks...

    Anyway, why is this an either/or argument? Books have their place, eBooks have theirs.

    The software industry has pretty much removed paper manuals from their system - all delivered as PDF's to be read on your computer etc...) yet there is still room for all those computer books that line the shelves...

    I think your bricks and mortar shop is safe for a very long time...

  5. AnonymousJuly 10, 2008

    Take a look....
    The world was square it is round...
    The book as an "invention" is works.
    But there is a place and time for the educational market digital is the norm...because it is the content that is required.Childrens books or highly illustrated books currently do not lend themselves to a e book formatt.
    But in all things irrespective of what you think your customer will determine how they will want to read....and shouldn't you have the ability to deliver that,because if you can't why should I buy from you?

  6. Anon - are you my customer? I very much doubt it...

    We provide an excellent service to our customers but most of them want paper books rather than e-books.

    If you were a customer/supporter of the bookshop you would be aware that we are very interested in print on demand (very geeky) but that finishes up with a paper book at the end. The only thing stopping us from providing this service are publishers who are keen (and rightly so) to protect their copyright and the prohibitive costs of a machine (though these costs are falling)

  7. AnonymousJuly 10, 2008

    $359 and only available in America. I Suspect at that price the only hope is to tear the wally's away from their Blackberrys.

    The whole thing comes down to economics. Bring the reader down below £100 and offer a good range of books at less than half price bundle in search and a dictionary and sooner or later people will start buying. Then each sale will push up the price of ordinary books as the scales get worse.

    I don't think you need to lose any sleep yet though. You should try my industry (IT) the whole lot is disappearing to India as I type - very scary.

  8. Ok, you are talking to a man whose mobile phone was recently described as "entry level" (IE It is mostly bought by families in India and China - it has a torch) and who hardly ever listens to his I-Pod any more because I don't like headphones much.

    I just think Hornby has a good point when he says most people only buy a few books a year so why invest in a machine just so you can read them?

    What is wrong with paper books? And Richard made an excellent point the other day. Books furnish a room. A little winking gadget in the corner isn't the same.

    I say again - geeks you are wrong. Books will be around far longer than these e-gizmos.

    But I never should have started this argument should I...

  9. Come on Matthew - this is a great argument, and I'm very glad you started it. Chris Wild is spot on, this is not an either / or thing. E-Books are just different, the product you end up with is different.

    The reason that books will stick around long after we're dead and gone is down to matter of aesthetics, cost, experience - and something that your link to that Google post a while back hinted at: when people read from machines they read with a different part of the brain, and they read differently.

    Two or three generations down the line this might be different - but then of course we'll have plenty of other things to worry about as global warming kicks in, and anyway it'll cost umpteen pounds to charge the thing...