New Technology and Digital Reading

In this piece I will examine the way in which technology has changed the way we read and buy books. What exactly does the introduction of digital reading mean for the book industry? And what does the future hold?

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Well if we look back, it was the introduction of the printing press that caused a huge surge in books, and from this many different books stores opened, offering a wide range of different books. For example we saw Eason’s book store, and Waterstone’s open in Cork, and also Borders book store in America. It was these books stores that were often filled with people on a daily basis browsing and searching for books, however, with the introduction of E-readers people’s general philosophy on buying books has changed.

The first E- reader was seen in 1998, however it must be said that the E-reader has only seen a demand over the last 5 to 6 years, and in 2000 the digital reading industry had one of its first when Riding the Bullet by Stephen King became the world's first mass-market electronic book, available for download at $2.50. In 2002, it was collected in King's collection Everything’s Eventual. During the first 24 hours, over 400,000 copies of Riding the Bullet were downloaded, jamming Soft Lock's serve. Some Stephen King fans waited hours for the download. With over 500,000 downloads, Stephen King seemed to pave the way of the publishing future.

Technology Used
The technology used in E-readers varies depending on the type and model you have. E-readers can display word processing documents and PDF files. Many if not all E-readers have a monochromatic display which means they display texts and graphics in black and white, with color displays being more expensive.
-E-Inks: Some models use E-inks which is a display technology that creates a texture similar to paper. It causes less eye strain than reading from a backlit LED.  However, it only shows black and white.
-LCD: In contrast to E-Inks, LCD offers full colour plus you can watch movies with LCD, however, battery life does not last as long as E-Inks and it is also hard to read in bright areas.
The introduction of auto scrolling was a huge plus for E-readers. One of the main drawbacks was the amount of scrolling people had to do, many found that the text jumped a line meaning you had to do quick adjustments with your eyes to find where to begin reading again, but with auto scroll this problem was soon dealt with which meant reading electronically was more pleasant.

Different Types
Like I said various different E-readers have various different technologies in them. From my research and by reading different forums it seemed whichever E-readers that particular person had was in fact the best, however it seems that Amazon’s Kindle E-reader has become the breakthrough E-reader in the industry. Since its introduction in 2007 sales have been huge and experts predict sales to triple in the next 5 years.

So which one is the Best.....
Well when debating this matter one should consider a few things first.
1, what is your main purpose of having an E-Reader?
2, Price
3, Size
4, Screen Components and so on....
One can purchase an E-reader for fewer than $200 dollars.  Barnes and Noble’s Nook is priced at $199 and Kindle smaller E-Book for $189 however, it is Amazon’s DX and Apple’s ipad that dominate the market, both of which cost nearly $500.
In terms of the size, many E-readers offer medium to small size screens like Sony, and Barnes and Noble’s Nook which have a 5 and 6 inch screen, while again Kindle and Apple offers large 9 inch screens.

Books VS E-Books
The introduction of E-readers has brought up the question regarding the future of Paperback books, and although it is early days in terms of people using digital reading, it must be said that if trends are to be believed the future for paperback books does not look so good, however, with everything in life there are advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages and disadvantages
BOOKS                                             E-BOOKS
1, Smell, touch and sound          1, Easily Readable
2, Browsing Bookstores              2, Books are more accessible                                               
3, Money                                          3, Lighting is meaningless

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There is no doubt that the main advantage still in paper backs favour is the smell, touch, sound aspect to them. Many people have not embraced the new technology and still love the idea of browsing book stores, also the fact that a good E-reader will set you back over $400 is also seen as a deterrent, however in saying that E-readers are easily readable, books are more accessible, and lighting is meaningless. Needless to say with the amount of technology that is found within E-readers they are fragile, so whether you’re dropping it, spilling your coffee or pint over it, or tripping up over your own feet, if you are one of a clumsy nature STAY AWAY!

In summing up E-readers themselves there is no question that the biggest advantage of having one is seen through travel. E-readers are great for travel, they are light weight, easy to carry, take up little space and one can access any genre of book almost anywhere in the world anytime, provided you have it charged fully of course, which if you do gives 8 to 9 hours life.

Project Gutenberg and Amazon
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If you are a person that owns an E-reader well Project Gutenberg is a good place to look for books to download. It was created in 1971 and is the First Online Digital Library which gives you Access to over 35.000 Articles. Unlike Amazon every books is free to download. Downloading books is easy, one chooses from epub, HTML or rich simple format, and like I said you have free access to 35.000 books. If we look at downloading books through kindle, one signs into Amazon with their e-mail address log into PG, search by means of author, name, etc, save on a PDF document and send it to your kindle account.

So what does the future hold for us readers?
So to the future what will it bring? Will books come storming back or will digital reading become even bigger. It seems the latter is the case. E- Books Look like continuing with their success which is good news for Sony, Apple and all the other companies, and taking everything into account it does seem as though E-Readers have gotten one over on paper books, for instance, Amazon recently declared that sales of e-books have overtaken that of paper books for the first time which is not good news for those traditional book readers. Although paperback books still outsell E-book worldwide, the point is that the emerging trends of E-readers show great potential for them becoming the dominant force in this industry. Personally I believe electronic reading is the way forward. E-readers allow a user to read novels, biographies and autobiographies, and even textbooks online. Eliminating paper use, books can be downloaded to a user’s computer, PDA, and cell phone. Users, able to read online, can build a library without leaving their home. Promoted as a “green” technology, E-readers appear to reduce waste, consumerism, and non-renewable resources. Compared to print publishing, it is cheaper and easier for authors to self-publish e-books. Also, the dispersal of a free e-book copy can stimulate the sales of the printed version.