The Imminent Death of E-Reader

Most book lovers have seen E-reader as a threat to the traditional book and literature. I think this conclusion is premature. I personally see E-reader and book complimenting each other. I believe in future books will continued to be published both in E-book and Print format, very much like how books have been published in Hardback and Paperback simultaneously.The two formats do not undercut but complement each other.

So, E-reader, harnessed correctly, will be a friend of writers, readers, publishing and literature. E-reader will maintain the glory of text. However, I am afraid, if we’re not careful the Death of E-Reader is Imminent. Below (in a comment posted on Esquire magazine’s blog) I discuss how E-reader can be saved from dying out and turning into a Multi-Media monster that will destroy reading for future generations.

The biggest plus point of e-readers is that you can carry tons of books without worrying about the space or weight. I have over 100 books (and increasing) loaded on my Kindle, but still I carry it around in my bag like a toy. As an emerging/ aspiring author who has self-published short fiction using KDP, I would like to see E-readers become more Reader-Friendly.

The biggest negative point of e-readers in my opinion is the small size of their screen. Remember that almost every book’s printed page is much bigger than the standard e-reader screen. It is just damn annoying having to frequently click pages to view more text in the tiny e-screen. No matter how sharper the contrast becomes, no matter how many Night-Glo bells and whistles are added, the small screen will always be a drag. It makes e-reader a very cheap and unfeasible imitation of the book experience.

Moreover, when you read a book there are TWO printed pages displayed before your eyes. In order to replicate the TWO page experience, e-readers will have to adopt a clamshell design– you open it up and there are two screens.

But I’m certain, just having a substantially larger single screen as the standard size can Revolutionize the e-reader. Actually, Amazon did venture into bigger screens with Kindle DX. Amazon had slated it as an e-reader more suitable for reading newspapers. But sadly, it never took off. I suppose– apart from DX’s low battery life–with all things digital, most peoples’ brains work in “Smaller is Better” mode. They would rather have a cute toy than a bigger version that may work better.

Besides, the companies that manufacture e-readers have got to make profit. They will design their e-readers with the “COOLNESS FACTOR”,  so that maximum number of people will go and buy them. (Notice how most BUYERS (and supposed READERS) are now preferring Tablets over E-readers? Why? Well, Tablets can diplay colors and play videos!)

Amazon and others need to treat E-Reader as an exclusive device to serve people who actually read. Otherwise, E-Reader is sure to die out and be replaced by Tablets just because they sell better and do other things. Ask yourself, would you go and buy a book in a bookstore that could also play audio and video? No, that would only undermine the intimate reading experience.

Therefore, in order to save and resurrect the E-readers (with E-Ink displays) Amazon and others seriously need to invest more time and money to develop a viable BIG Screen E-reader with long battery life. This is what the Reading World truly needs in order to bridge the vast gap between the traditional Book and E-reader.
Rajiv (www.rajivthind.com)

About Rajiv

I am a 30-something aspiring and emerging writer based in Christchurch, New Zealand. I blog about books, reading, writing and ideas. More info on my work and short fiction can be found at www.rajivthind.com
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4 Responses to The Imminent Death of E-Reader

  1. Pingback: Why People Blog? | Rajiv Writes

  2. Pingback: Internet and Hyperconnectivity | Rajiv Writes

  3. jaysquires says:

    Thank you for covering the issue of the e-reader in more depth than I did in my post. I enjoyed reading about its commercial aspects and showing the wave of the future, if the ebook problems aren’t resolved, will be with the tablet. I agree, sir. An exceptional post.

  4. Rajiv says:

    Thanks for your comment, Jay.

    Yes, future of portable reading may well be with the Tablet, especially as Tablets are trying to include what is called an “all purpose screen”.. This means that Tablet screen will be colored and glowing while surfing the internet or playing videos. But it will turn into black and white e-ink style while reading a book.

    All said, we can only speculate. Technological trends change with the speed of light. But yea, we hope readers and writers will be well-served.

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