Thursday, August 16, 2007

R.I.P. Books: Buzzword - Popular Mechanics

R.I.P. Books: Buzzword - Popular Mechanics: "The problem is that the printed page is a damn-near perfect technology for text presentation and storage. It%u2019s durable, requires no power or connectivity and is remarkably cheap to produce."

I spend most of my day reading off of a screen, from news and weather to reading what I have just written. I like books because they are a little easier on my eyes after all that.
It isn't that ebooks can't take off. I have a friend constantly reading ebooks off of an old Palm. Lots of people read on a computer screen all day.
There is just an issue with how ebooks are designed. It is not about the text, it is probably something subtle. Right now using a Palm for an ebook reader is a lot like reading a flip up notebook, That seems fine but is very different from how a real book is read which is more side to side in a pretty wide format that is more comfortable then a small pad. Smaller isn't always better.
The eInk screens are really good, but it is the overall design that is lacking. It is kinda like going into a new home and feeling it isn't right, all the good parts are there just not in quite the right places. The dishwasher is far from the cabinets, there is a big pillar too close to the front closet. Lots of dumb little things.
For the iPod small size was an important feature, for an ebook reader it probably isn't. They need to test some radically different designs, because what they've come up so far hasn't worked.

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