That’s a good question. Does the future of books lie in the increasing popularity of mobile eBook reading? eBook readers have certainly advanced a great deal in recent months, partially because they allows people to access a large number of titles without having to travel to libraries and bookstores, and also because they are convenient. There are no heavy books to carry around, and the majority of mobile readers fit comfortably in the pocket.
One issue that some might have with mobile eBook readers is the text size, which is generally 7 point, though it is easier when the ‘full screen’ option is used. Like their larger counterparts, mobile readers enable you to bookmark your place and store your favorite links for later use. In many cases the text can be made easier to read by increasing the font size, and with it you can often bold the view to improve the readability.
Compared to a traditional book, there is a number advantages offered by an eBook reader, and because of these it is assuming increasing popularity among those for whom reading is a serious business as well as with those that read for pleasure.
Among the benefits for both types of reader is the fact that mobile eBook reading can be enjoyed whenever you want to read, as opposed to whenever you have a book available. Imagine the benefits on long haul flights, when you can save on the weight and inconvenience of carrying a number of books, and you can use one to read on the underground, train or even when standing in a queue!
Apart from the range of books offered by Amazon for its Kindle range, the Sony Reader allows you access to a large library of books in the public domain that are therefore free to download. It also gives you access to Google e-books, which is a very large range of options to have, particularly if you are carrying out technical research. Others offer a smaller range of books, but all are growing.
The one thing that aficionados of real books will lose is the touch and feel of a book in their hands. That feel and smell of a real leather binding, for example, and the physical sensation of holding it and turning the pages. Those that have never experienced that, however, will wonder what there is to miss, and a day will come when this is the only way of reading books, and the old paper versions will be consigned to the archives. It might take a generation or two, but it will happen, in the same way that steam-driven locomotives are now museum pieces.
However, there is one aspect of mobile eBook reading that might become more relevant in the future, and that may impact on such as Amazon and the smaller manufacturers. That is the question of flexibility, and this is possibly why Apple has taken so long to enter the market. The day of dedicated e-readers might be numbered because people generally prefer to use one device for as many applications as possible.