Thoughts on e-readers and the self-publishing revolution.

I finally finished watching Iron Man today. Not bad.

But my brain jumped a few links and ended up here: the publishing revolution will depend on better batteries.

I've been reading Doyce's links and ponderings about the future of the publishing industry. Most self-publishers, no matter what that crowd self-reports, currently come across like a bunch of punks who play three chords REALLY LOUD and wear razors dangling from their ears from paper clips. Okay, edgy, sure, and clearly a group that's destined to be recorded in history as forerunners of whatever comes next, but movers of the hearts and minds of humanity as a whole? No.

The revolution currently depends on getting people to read for entertainment on their computers, because the best traditionally-formatted self-published books can aspire to be is...books. And sitting in front of a computer gets old. I get my RDA of repetitive stress injuries at work, thanks. And Kindles are so meh.

It's not that the book format is the ultimate format, but until the alternatives are better for me, why bother with meh?

The mighty book:
  • Does not require a power source except in instances where humans require power sources anyway (i.e., lighting, the ability to move).
  • Can be replaced cheaply if damaged (usually); thus, can be read in the bathtub.
  • Can be explored rather than searched for.
  • Can be interacted with physically (smelled, touched, listened to, riffled).
  • Can be collected.
  • Can be illustrated in color.
  • Can be loaned.
  • Can be borrowed.
  • Can be entrusted to a baby (board books, rubber books).
  • Can be produced in different sizes (comic books).
  • Can have a "total package" for marketing purposes - in fact, have covers for just this purpose.
  • Are reliable.
There are probably lots more, and a lot of these things e-readers might bypass pretty easily.

I would have to agree with Doyce in that the next thing in literary-type entertainment is community, and it's hard to have a community with just a book. So: the revolution needs the Internet. And e-readers might be the bridge between the community of the Internet and the freedom of a book.

But right now, a Kindle is just another piece of crap you have to babysit. A second cell phone or MP3 player or micro laptop or GPS or whatever. What does a Kindle do that a cell phone can't do?

It's bigger, easier to read (or so I hear), and it saves batteries.


Flexible laptop screens are in development. But batteries? ZOMG a laptop batter that lasts more than 3 hours!!11! I don't know how long cell phones last as I don't use them, but I'm always hearing people bitch about dead batteries, so probably not all that much longer.

I'm prepared to buy a cell phone when it's my:
  • cell phone
  • laptop
  • e-reader (and can display graphic-novel-level illustrations)
  • music and video player
  • and I can throw it in my backpack for a month-long expedition into the desert, with a few stretches in the ocean, and not have to worry about how I'm going to charge the thing.
I can carry around a book indefinitely.

The people, the people are ready for a revolution. But the batteries, the batteries aren't ready.