Thursday, September 17, 2009

An E-reader Please

I have been in love with the "idea" of e-readers since the first time I ever laid eyes on them. I've had them in my checkout cart more times than I care to recount but I have never been able to take that final step and press purchase. Why? I am one those "I want what I want" type of people and I get a little annoyed when I can't get it. However I also realize you can't get something if you don't ask. So here I am, asking for my minimum e-reader/book requirements.

First lower the price.
I just can't seem to bring myself to pay 400 bucks for a device that only allows me to read a book. Honestly an ipod Touch is less than that and contains a lot more functionality (though not quite as easy on the eyes for extended reading). If you expect me to buy a dedicated reading device you better find a way to get that price into the $99 range.

Make my books mobile. Shortcovers is on the right track in this regard. They recently added e-reader capability to their services. Now I could download a book to my e-reader but if I'm out and about I could also access the book from my ipod touch, blackberry, iphone, or a host of other mobile devices. Now that's a step up from a book! Anywhere access on any of my devices ... a book can't do that!

Photo: Gunthert , IMG_1503.CR2 , via Flickr, September 18, 2009 under a CC License

Let me own my books. When I buy a physical book, there is no question of ownership. That physical entity is mine, I can give it to friend, leave on a park bench, donate it to the library, hoard it on my bookshelf.. the possibilities are endless. If I buy a digital book (for marginally less than a physical book), I want to own it.

Photo: Dori, Dori4050, via Flickr, September19, 2009 under a CC license

Let me NOT own my books. There are some books I like to have around and read over and over again (well not really but maybe some people do) but the majority of my reading is consumable. I read, I'm entertained, I throw (or give) it away. I know I can check books out of the library (even digital books in a lot of cases) but sometimes I just don't want to wait in the queue for the latest best-seller. Would I be willing to pay for immediate access to a book that deletes itself when I'm done? You bet I would! The question will be .. how much?

Don't fence me in. I will not buy a device that limits me to one supplier (Hear that Kindle .. not that you are allowed up here anyway). I want the control (and openness) to access whatever content I want from whatever supplier. Buying books, checking them out from the library, magazine and newspaper subscriptions, favourite blogs, I want them all!

Make it better than a book (for bonus points). So far all that is being done is taking the "traditional book" and put it on a screen. While that's okay, I'm looking for something more. Anywhere, any device access is a start, certainly something a book can't do, but it is hardly a showstopper. I want enhanced content ... I want to be wowed!

Well that's it. The bare bone minimum of what I need from an e-book/reader experience in order to finally hit the check out button. I hope some of this functionality comes soon ... because I really want to hit that button in time for Christmas!

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