e-Reader Dying Out?

I feel like this is me on a sunny day.

I just read an article on Mashable and on Slate that e-Reader sales are down. They might go down until ALL companies stops selling them, just like that trendy device no one remembers from a decade ago, like the Mac Cube.

Barns and Nobel are already separating themselves from the Nook; Amazon has a new phone; Sony has long since gotten out of the American market.

Both Mashable and Slate say it’s because e-Readers are a single-purpose device, a purpose that can easily be performed on any tablet and smartphone. That’s, true, yes, you can read anything on a tablet or a smartphone.

Mind, this category of the dedicated e-Reader does not include e-Readers such as the Nook Color and Kindle Fire. Those are tablets, but they are usually marketed as e-Readers. The dedicated e-Reader is an e-ink reader.

Mashable says the smartphone is killing the single-purpose e-Reader. I disagree; if anything is killing it, it’s the tablet. The smaller tablets and most e-Readers have a similar size.

Me, I got a dedicated e-Reader, a tablet and a smartphone. I do have an e-reader app on my tablet and my smartphone and even some books, but the bulk of my reading is done on the e-Reader. It’s just a lot more comfy for hours and hours of reading. A lot more comfy.

But if you don’t read as much as I do, maybe a tablet or a smartphone would be a better idea. It means fewer devices and less expense. You can get and read books on either one easily. So a part of me thinks, yes, there will come a day when dedicated e-Readers are no longer sold.

What do you think? Do you think the single-purpose e-Reader is on it’s way out? If you wanted to be able to read ebooks today, would you get a tablet or a dedicated e-Reader? Neither and just stick with your trust smartphone?



Free Reads on Google Play


So I was searching through the books in Google Play. I went through various menus, Featured, Top Selling, New Arrivals in Fiction, New Arrivals in Non-Fiction, until I arrived at Top Free.

I expected this section to be filled with classics. That is, books whose copyright had expired, along with a few other, more recently published books. I was wrong.

Well, not completely. The Time Machine by H.G. Wells topped free books the list. There were a few other titles, too, that I didn’t recognize and could possibly be classics. (I am not an expert on the classics.)

No, mostly it was bonus stories from writers I’ve heard of. Patterson, Christine Warren, Jenna Black and others. Which surprises me. I didn’t get any and I suppose they are complete stories, just short. I usually go looking for those bonus short stories on the author’s website. A couple were more novella sized – around 100 pages. Google Play is probably a pretty good outlet for them, too.

Plus! There was also a whole free book by Jayne Ann Krentz.

I didn’t see a lot of a self-published books, which surprised me. At least none I recognized.



Signed Kindle Cover

At the BEA, I saw people getting their kindles signed. That is to say, they held out their kindle cover and asked the author to sign them. Some people had oodles of signatures on their kindle cover, kind of like some people get a cast signed by everyone they know.

It’s strange. I mean, it’s good they can get the autographs they want and not have to clutter up their home with physical books. The clutterless-ness of eBooks is one of the reasons why I like them.

But still. It never occurred to me bring my kindle cover to be signed. I mean, really, the thought only appeared in my head as a passing fancy. Because I can’t truly believe signature on a kindle cover is a real autograph. My mind shies away from the thought.

This shows me that my conversion to ebooks isn’t as complete as I thought it was. In truth, I don’t want to convert more wholly to ebooks than I have already. Which feels like an odd thought – I thought I wanted to convert 100% to ebooks. But no. 90% is good enough for me.

Also, while searching online for a picture of a signed kindle cover, I discovered an actual kindle whose back was covered by autographs. It boggles my mind.

I especially like the one that looks like a devil, right next to Joe Hill.

U is for Ultimately, publishers have to ditch DRM

Come July, Tor will get rid of DRM. Tor publishes a lot of the science fiction/fantasy I read. So, yeah, I am excited to hear they are planning on publishing books sans DRM. Between Tor, Baen and Angry Robot, almost all of the books I read will be DRM free.

This is big. It’s big because Tor is ultimately owned by Macmillan, one of the big 6 publishers. The link between Tor and Macmillan is long and kind of twisted. I am not sure I understand it all. Tor is an imprint of Tom Doherty, which a subsidiary of Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group, which is part of Macmillan, which is one of the big 6 publishers. I suppose at the end Tor is an imprint of Macmillan. Until now, they have insisted on DRM.

Ultimately, publishers have to ditch DRM. DRM helps no one but the retailers. Their price fixing deal was to break Amazon’s hold on the eBook market.

Since the government objected to that illegal activity, they might decide on removing DRM as a way to let people decide who they want to buy from. If kindle owners decide to buy from someone other than Amazon, they could and still read their books on their kindle.

Charles Strauss also a pretty good post on DRM. I think he is right about the planned obsolescence about current ereaders is right (and all other consumer devices).

I have a kindle and I have little doubt that the battery will stop holding a charge sometime soon. (I could replace the battery. Maybe. Maybe not.) I will have to buy something new sometime in the next couple years. I might buy anything, a nook, another kindle, a tablet. I don’t know. But if I am forced to consider DRM, I will have to buy another kindle and that just locks me to Amazon again. Or break the DRM myself, which gives me more choices.

This is an article I read from an anonymous publishing exce on why he/she broke DRM. One admits it here, but there might be more. I have to say, if the publisher execs themselves are breaking DRM, they will soon get rid of it entirely.

So I think other publishers will follow Tor’s example. At some point anyway. Hopefully soon.