Archive for July, 2007

Video: the eBook Future

Possible ou Probable?… is a thought-provoking video short from leading French publishing conglomerate Editis. It’s in French but vision is almost entirely visual.
I found the presentation of digital reading, and reading-optimized devices as an integrated part of daily life, very compelling. Of course, this may be because it tracks very closely to how I see the future unfolding.
One thing that wasn’t so compelling to me, at least in terms of the long-term vision, was the portrayal of digital content acquisition at the traditional “High Street” bookseller, via display copies of paper books. The idea of coming across a desired physical book and then instantly “beaming” the content to a personal device certainly sounds cool. But by the time digital books are widely adopted I believe that they will no longer be merely text and pictures – the integration of rich-media content and interactivity will ultimately make digital publications a new and distinct category of content, not merely a digitized version of paper. And after all most of us don’t acquire songs for our MP3 players by going down to Tower Records and rummaging in CD racks. And online browsing of books is already here.
Yet there will surely be a transitional period where most books are still sold as paper products, and marketed in large part via bookstore display, and where most digital works still have essentially the same content as their paper editions. During this perhaps lengthy period integration of digital and paper bookselling may well transpire as portrayed. As someone who loves bookstores, I would like nothing more than to see things play out this way.