Nick Hornby’s Take on eBooks
Over on the Penguin blog, author Nick Hornby writes of his encounter with an iliad in Borders:
It was a quiet Monday morning, and there didn’t seem to be too much interest in the four hundred quid e-book reader; what was striking, though, was that there didn’t seem to be too much interest in the four quid books, either. Attempting to sell people something for four hundred pounds that merely enables them to read something that they won’t buy at one hundredth of the price seems to me a thankless task.
He goes on to dismiss e-books, not because the technology ain’t good enough, but with a few points about (yep you guessed it) our cultural habits. And finishes with what he sees as the key problem:
But – and this is the most depressing reason – the truth is that people don’t like reading books much anyway…
Of course, all of his arguments go away if we can introduce e-books by slealth. Those people that won’t drop 400 quid on an iliad are literally lining up for iphones. Maybe there’s a chance that they’ll start reading books on them, given the right incentives. Which is something that has to be figured out. And unlike keitai novels in the east, it’s early days for that in the west.