Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Ebooks yet again

Like everyone else with an internet connection, I’ve been gazing at the Kindle 2, and I have to admit, for the first time I’m actually beginning to think nice thoughts. Kindle 1 was okay—I did get my hands on one for a while—and this improves on some of my complaints (especially page-change speed). I could really see getting one of these machines if it didn’t cost the proverbial arm and a leg. I’m also beginning to get intrigued about how this thing can play into what we do here at Select Editions, given that we are, after all, in traditional publishing. Is our kind of publishing going the way of the buggy whip? An article I read this morning compared ebooks to talkies, and publishers to silent film producers. Maybe, but if I’m not mistaken, the cost of talkies, for patrons, was the same as the cost of silents. As long as there’s the heavy initial hardware buy-in, I can’t see ebooks jumping past early adapters and techies. Maybe it boils down to whoever makes the $50 ebook reader is the ultimate winner. I don’t know. I have nothing against the concept per se, but at the moment, I do have something against paying all that money for it. I’m not betting against it, though. I’m hedging. I think I’ll sit on my chips for awhile before making any commitment. In the meanwhile, good-old-fashioned books on paper, despite all the economic turmoil in the publishing business (and everywhere else) still look like a reasonable bet, at least for the short term.