eBooks are slowly but surely moving into the PDA space. When I read blogs where people talk about their PDA use lately, I'm seeing people say that reading eBooks is a major use of their PDA. Some say this is their most valued and frequent use. And I can understand why.
Maybe what turned the tide for me is the 320x320 bright TFT screen of my new Zire 72. The text looks great and is easy on the eye in most lighting. Maybe even more important is the instant gratification. You shop online, purchase with a credit card and download the book and synch to your Palm. And you are reading your book. I love it!
I've been trying eBook reading out and exploring the last few weeks. I'm currently reading Snow Crash. This is the furthest I've ever gotten into the book and I've tried a few times before. There's something about reading a book like Snow Crash on a PDA. It's the type of book that you want to have electrified.
Here's what I'm enjoying so far:
- Taking Notes - mostly just quoting.
- Go-ing to particular chapters, pages, etc. instantaneously.
- Finding words Just highlight the word and hold to get a menu that lets you find the word in the book starting from the beginning. That way I can be reminded what an acronym stands for or who a particular character is.
- Having it remember my place and start where I left off.
- The small size of my book. Anyone running out of pocket, backpack and briefcase space?
- This weightless, virtual medium allows me to bring along an encyclopedia's worth of books wherever I go. Without a laptop!
- Ability to copy and paste from books - you can't do that with ink and paper without OCR scanning.
- The price of books seems too high. Without any distribution costs to speak of, can't they do better on pricing?
- There should be steeper discounts once the book has gone into paperback.
- If I buy an eBook for my PDA, shouldn't I be able to use it free on my computer kind of like iTunes?
- And how about a discount if I want to buy the hard copy book? The infrastructure for such things isn't there yet, but it's bound to move in that direction.
- Some books aren't available as eBooks. I am dying to have Getting Things Done and Ready for Anything by David Allen as eBooks. I want to have them at hand wherever I go to support me in getting better organized, but there are no eBooks, just audiobooks which are very different because the audiobooks - even the digital variety aren't nearly as random access - I can't look things up easily.
OK. We've got some good things going and more in the works. But, why not take it a step further? I can't be the only one thinking this. Since this is not a hard copy book and the printing costs are nil, how about:
- more extra features
- a biography of the author
- an informed discussion of the book
- lots of illustrations and photos or even video clips if appropriate