Mid last year, I bought a Sony Reader, but the lack of eBooks available for it, and the complicated process of getting books both from stores like Borders and loading them onto the device, meant I didn’t use it that much and continued to read print books.
Despite the issues with Amazon, I bought the Kindle in December, and found the device was more reliable, there was a wider availability of books and the process of getting books (and other non-Amazon reading material) was so easy via emailing things wirelessly. I can now say that the Kindle has become my primary method of reading after a year.
The exception is books unavailable for Kindle, which is dwindling all the time. Finding books from the International Socialist Tendency is the hardest but Haymarket Books in the US, linked to the ISO, is releasing most of their new releases digitally now. And older Marxist texts, as well as any literature that is public domain, is available on the internet and with handy tools such as browser plugins, you can send things to read with one click.
Not only does the eReader change the way we read traditional print titles, but online text as well, removing us from the glare and distractions of computers. For me, it places the importance on making whatever you publish available in these formats.
Books, publications and journals that cling to outmoded or locked formats such as cloud readers, PDFs and print-only miss this audience.
And I don’t just say this from a position of personal preference. Over the last year, sightings on Kindles and eInk readers such as the Sony Reader and the Kobo have increased on trams, much more than iPads, and are not only replacing those seen with print books, but others as well. From Christmas onwards, this seems more so and I have heard of many friends and acquaintances receiving Kindles for Christmas. They’ve increased on retail store shelves, where as previously you had to order your Kindle from Amazon.com. All of this points to their rise in popularity.
I would speculate that these readers would be looking to purchase more books for their devices, rather than settle for print due to the convenience of having all their reading material on one device and not having to carry often heavy print books, especially for commuters travelling to and from work or uni every day.
Literary journals and Australian Publishing, courted by inferior technology such as cloud-based readers, are missing out on this audience that seems to be growing. Where as small press journals and publishing are tapping into this potential by making their publications available in all formats.
I love my Kindle, I want to use it as often as I can, so I am always sorely disappointed when publications, particularly new and exciting journals, are unavailable to me.
I’m looking forward to the day when everything I read is available on the one device.