Some bloggers have been lamenting the EBook bust.
As one who writes for younger readers, I observed that the EBook boom never happened for them. Neither picture books nor novels for pre-teens have been great sellers in that format.
Why? Aren’t young’uns crazy about devices? Don’t they want their books on a handy-dandy virtual page, like the rest of their social life?
A writing friend commented that the problem with EBooks is that they fail to use, really use, the electronic features they are capable of having that would have made them different.
EBooks, as they are now, are just computer files with nothing more than the print text and the ability to enlarge it, or even find certain words.
The capability that we have come to expect from any website or digital article would make books better, in ways, than print. Digitized text could be made to have "extra layers" not only in the way DVDs contained more features than the film, but so much more. EBooks could have highlighted words that would take the reader to side videos, moving clips, or extra material, which includes sound.
This would mean higher production costs, but publishers get a near-free ride with EBooks as they are now. No warehousing, shipping, printing or dealing with worn returns. For a single process of file conversion they have a product that costs pennies, with a few more to the distributor, (mostly Amazon) and is “in print” forever. It behooves publishers to make a different and distinctive product if they really want to make true “electronic books,” or EBooks.
But we are so not there yet. As it is now, there is no compelling reason to read on kindle even if the price is right and you can haul a whole bunch of books in one light device. Few kids read a whole bunch of books at once anyhow.
Where they do use it, increasingly, is for textbooks. As school systems force this conversion, kids don’t mind not having to haul those books. But this is different from pleasure reading.
And no matter what, you can’t hug your favorite volume, your most beloved book, if it’s a file on an E-reader. That is why they need to give us something more in exchange.