eBooks, schmEbooks. What began as an issue that turned writers and lovers of printed books alike into Chicken Littles who ran through the streets screaming ‘The Kindle is falling!’ (I can’t help but feel this must be grimly satisfying to the ghosts of the long-dead monks who warned everybody about this Gutenberg asshole), has rapidly devolved into a latter-day spectator sport as the variety of interests involved jockey for position.

How the eBook industry is going to end up is something I’m still thinking about. I’m not sure that people are ever going to get the same kind of experience from an eBook as they do from the hard-copy equivalent, but, at the same time, that’s an impression that isn’t really quantifiable (unless you start poring over sales reports, which I won’t, as I’ve got a couple of episodes of The Vampire Diaries to catch up on).

In the meantime, we’ve got the gladiatorial competition between Apple, Amazon, Google, and the massed phalanx of publishing houses (led by their bold generals at Macmillan) to watch. This guy has some interesting things to say on the topic; and it remains anyone’s guess as to who’ll be left the victors once the dust has settled.

We live in interesting times.

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SIMON SMITHSON is an Australian writer and editor. He is currently based in Melbourne, Australia, but frequently finds himself in Los Angeles and San Francisco. His work has appeared on both sides of the globe in print and online in publications such as BLIP, Every Day Fiction, Beat, The Loop, My Sinking Boat, and more. He has a tumblr at www.simonsmithson.com and he runs a lifestyle experiment at www.selfhelpless.net.

5 responses to “Lions 1, Amazon 0.”

  1. Shya Scanlon says:

    I love how the whole Amazon debacle turned a community normally decrying the behavior of big business publishers into a squad of cheerleaders for same. Enemy of enemy = friend, I guess.

  2. isn’t this the first time the Lions have won this season?

  3. Simon Smithson says:

    Shya: I know, right? Suddenly the big houses are the underdog (somehow) fighting for truth, justice, and equitable subsidiary rights.

    Jim: I really like their starting line-up this year. I think they’re in it for the pennant.

  4. You had me at “schmEbook”…

    I like to think of eBooks as little promotional freebies for prospective customers, who, if they like what they can handle reading on a screen, will later by the hard copy book.

  5. Paul Clayton says:

    Simon, I all for the Kindle and similiar dedicated readers. Yes, they have a built in dictionary and text to voice, and they are ‘term-searchable,’ but they are not flash-bang caddoodle techno-gismos like the MePads, and I’m agin them. With the Kindle you can, to use a good cliche, curl up on the couch and just read. But with these other thingees, and the ones on the drawing boards, you can read, but you can also surf, play ping pong, watch porn videos, spritz perfume behind your ears and listen to Johnny Rotten, all very distracting things when you’re trying to get through Proust.

    No, I don’t have a Kindle. But I want to get one when I sell enough copies of my latest ADVERTISEMENT: White Seed: The Untold Story of the Lost Colony of Roanoke, on Amazon’s Kindle site. I get a buck seventy five a pop.

    Anyway, again I’m sorry you couldn’t hang here in SF with us yanks. BTW, does the blood rush to your head being down under like that?

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