eBooks are rubbish or great: take your pick

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A wonderful spat kicked off recently about the worth of eBooks. In the one corner, we have the Hachette Livre, who says they represent the death of creativity. Steeped in the vested interest of a hardcopy publisher, the argument he offers is that there is no creativity in eBooks despite the stated promise they were meant to deliver when they entered the popular conscience.

The reality is that eBooks are just electronic versions of hardcopy publications which add nothing to the reading experience (apart from the weight/size advantage and the fact that they can be cheaper to buy than paper versions of the same work).

In the opposite corner, we had the claim that eBooks represent a revolution and Hachette should stop complaining. The argument is that they are easier to carry around and, with Amazon as a catalyst, they have completely changed the world of book publishing.

My view? I remember there was a Sony e-reader back in the 80s or 90s so the eBook is nothing new. The revolution was provided by the download access facility of the world wide web. Amazon then piggybacked off that technological  leap and took advantage.

Are eBooks so different from a paper version? Not often and it is a function of the means of production that publishers – of any type – are going to want to create two processes for the same product. That doesn’t matter. The existence of online sales platforms – Amazon, SmashWords, B&N, Apple’s book store – are where the revolution started and enables me to deliver my product in a relatively cost-efficient manner.

What do you think?

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