Monday, May 28, 2012

The lowdown on e-Readers

If one wants to start an argument make a comment about someone's e-Reader that they may not like.

So far I have managed to avoid this. But I do remember the early days and they were kind of grim. There were a bunch of competing expensive pacifiers. I think it was in the 90s when owners would go out of their way to extol their limited virtues. In the marketing business we call these pioneering guys the ones with "the arrows in their backs."

As far as eReaders go, I do not yet own one (I don't want to pay $100+ nor want to be near a wi-fi station or pay monthly for that). I have seen many, I have talked with owners. In the VAST majority of instances it is a "badge of honor" or pride thing: "Hey look, see what I have!" Then, "Do you have one?"

Of course they are on smartphones too. Smartphones are "portable encyclopedias" with pretty pictures. But as someone MIGHT have written, they have NO SOUL but they often do have FAST answers and of course, we have to have FAST even if what we are doing doesn't matter all that much. Now people use them to cheat at "trivia" in church rec areas!

Where I think they MIGHT be valuable? On a trip, vacation where you might not want to lug around a bunch of books. But this doesn't sound like chess books does it? More like general reads I suppose.

Everyman Chess has "software" created books and there is NO interaction. Can't add or subtract. In my attempt to sell even ONE, a book by Sam Collins on the French, it bombed horrifically. I decided not to stock the rest even though they are prominently displayed on the Everyman website. In fact, one of the "converter" guys wrote to me looking for work. Apparently the chess enthusiasts of the world are not yet ready--if they ever will be.

On a recent trip to Chicago I chatted with a fellow (an older dude, like me) behind the counter and he said it best, "There's nothing like holding a book in your hand. It feels so much more alive." Well, I have the exact quote written down here somewhere, but that will have to do for now.

I remember picking up a book on Walt Disney at that B&N store. To me, it's just MORE fun to read, in bed, in the parking lot, anywhere, just like on a Nook or a Kindle. Nook is a stupid name because for years it indicated a "corner" of some universe where someone was going to write from and it was done repeatedly: "Knight's Nook" or some such. Trite.

The Kindle? Let's see, the very smart "Jeff Bezos" (smart: he got lots of people to invest in HIS fantasy. After many years of indebtedness (still? I've heard...), he succeeded. The investors in Facebook--what did they get? Well they got what they deserved didn't they?) came up with the name "Kindle" or was it a "lackey?" Lame to the max. I've figured it out, the HYPE made buyers forget the name. It caught on, just like the name "iPod." (I keep thinking of the Pod People and wow, who wants that?)

Sometimes it works... usually, it doesn't. My MAIN beef is with Amazon, the Wal-Mart of business ruination. The big-box stores are waning, as are the Malls. However, it was recently reported that if you ALSO sold food, like Wal-Mart and Target, you had a chance to survive. Do we even want that?

What ever happened to the Dick Tracy watch with video and sound? I think it is called a "phone," which I see more people looking at than where they are going!

1 comment:

  1. Boy, do you sound like an old man!
    A couple notes...
    1. For Kindle (at least) there's no charge for wi-fi or 3G connections to download content.
    2. With physical display limitations, of course they won't entirely replace books.

    Were you one of those guys ridiculing early PC/Mac or cell phone owners that were excited ("badge of honor") about a new technology that had no "soul"?

    I wasn't an early buyer but portable "readers" of some kind are here to stay. I find my Kindle to be very useful in certain situations (traveling, commuting) and for certain content (chess puzzle books, fiction, periodicals). Some functions are useful too... "searching" for key words, for example.