Update Feb 5: Scott Westerfeld's article in the Guardian (UK) summarizes the whole contretemps in one easy to digest article.
Update Feb 4: Truepenny's blog is a great starting point for an update on what's been happening. It includes commentary and links to a follow up letter from Macmillan CEO John Sargent; and an excellent post from Joseph E. Lake Jr. explaining all the people involved in getting one of his books to print and the stages it goes through - which in turn explains why ebooks don't have a much cheaper cost basis than printed books.
Steve Jobs today unveiled the all new iPad tablet which, to quote him, is a "mobile video-watching, book-reading, game-playing, photo-perusing, music-listening, web-surfing, and email-emailing device."
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that its base price starts at $499, which is much lower than the ~$1000 price point industry watchers predicted. At this price it is likely to give dedicated e-readers such as the Kindle and Nook serious competition, and also significantly impact the market for smaller computers known as netbooks.
You will find a thorough description of the new device, as described by Jobs himself here
And for more about the likely pricing and availability of e-books on the iPad click here
Lastly two particularly salient paragraphs lifted from Rik Myslewski's article in theregister.co.uk.....
"And speaking of Amazon's Kindle, Apple clearly is in a gauntlet-throwing mood when it comes to ebooks. But putting aside the epaper-versus-backlit display debate, it's difficult to compare the iPad and the Kindle. The Kindle, for example, can download books from (sorta) anywhere at anytime over Sprint's wireless Whispernet service. To accomplish the same degree of convenience, an iPad owner will not only have to pony up the extra $130 for 3G connectivity, but also pay AT&T $14.99 for 250MB a month or $29.99 for an unlimited data plan.
That said, however, the Kindle is merely a monochrome reader for ebooks (and enewspapers and emagazines and blogs), while the colorful, oleophobic, LED-backlit, 1024-by-768 iPad includes a range of entertainment, creative, and productivity software, plus access to those aforementioned 140,000 iPhone apps. If you're already an iPhone or iPod touch owner, by the way, the iPad will also run all the apps you've purchased for those two handhelds. Another bonus: when docked, the iPad can double as a full-color digital photo frame."
About a year ago, I wrote a blog about ebook readers and my
decision to purchase a Sony PRS-505. I have absolutely no regrets, and I still love my reader; I can no longer say, though, that I "wouldn't trade it for anything."
First, I'm thrilled, pleased and tickled to death that after decades of owning ebook readers I'm finally using a product that's likely to become part of the mainstream. I've got at least three obsolete devices sitting around for which I can no longer purchase books. I truly believe that ebooks are here to stay this time. You can't read an industry publication these days without seeing at least one article about the evolving ebook market. Ebooks are the only segment of the book industry whose sales have seen a dramatic increase during the recession, and I know at least half a dozen people who are asking for an e-reader for the holidays this year. (Not to mention the fact that I'm frequently seeing others with these devices on the bus; mine is no longer a novelty.)
Kim Kovacs, BookBrowse reviewer
The following is in response to Lynda East's question to Kim after reading her Jan 1st blog "My Secret Addiction".Lynda asks, "Can you comment on the benefits and problems of the Sony eReader versus the Amazon Kindle? Their prices are comparable and both out of my price range right now (like you, my Christmas gift hints fell on deaf ears) ..."
I've thought ebook readers were a nifty idea ever since seeing one in the first Star Trek movie way back in 1979 (the technological dark ages!). I purchased my first digital reader in 1998, but paid the price of being an early adopter when the model I had was discontinued a few years later and I could no longer purchase books for it. I tried reading digital books on my Dell Axim for awhile, but it just wasn't the same. I eventually abandoned that, too, coming to the conclusion that the rest of the world just wasn't as ready for digital books as I was, and contented myself with old-fashioned paper for the next several years.
Kim Kovacs, BookBrowse reviewer
Once again I begin my New Year's resolutions with the promise, "I will not buy more books than I can read" (followed by the corollary, "I will buy just one book at a time"). Once again, I suspect I'll fail.
Ever since the fourth grade (don't ask), books have been a refuge for me. Each one represents a new world or adventure, my own little escape pod from the traumas of the day. Books call to me as I stroll the bookstore aisles, unable to resist their alluring covers and captivating premises. How can I possibly leave one of these unexplored worlds sitting, unread, on a shelf at my bookstore?