The year of the eBook

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This is, by all accounts, the year of the eBook. After all, according to Amazon, more eBooks than physical books were sold on Christmas Day 2009. It looks a startling fgure, until, of course, you realise that eBooks were the only thing that was going to get delivered on Christmas Day. It was a piece of PR spin put out to promote Amazon’s reader, the Kindle.

And yet there is a bit of a frenzy about eBooks. Search google news and you’ll see the buzz. This is the year that e-reading on ePaper using e-ink is set to take off. (Blimey I’m e-bored already.)

Indeed, this is the week, if you believe the tsunami of hype flooding the internet about Apple’s rumoured Tablet. It’s going to be the future of reading! It’s going to change the world! It’s going to bring universal peace to mankind and help Watford win the premiership! This is the year when the devices – which so far have been the really weak link in the chain – suddenly grow up.

Hmmm. The thing is that the hype is so huge, because, for publishing, we live in a period of uncertainty. We don’t really know what’s going to happen. Publishers are either very excited by the prospect or scared to death depending on which news story you read. Bookshops, I imagine, see it as another nail in the coffin. Authors – as with so much of life – haven’t got a clue.

So, as one who feels woefully unprepared about the future of the eBook, I thought I’d start posting my thoughts on it here and see if we can’t get some kind of conversation going.

I’ll put up the first post later today after I’ve done some proper work. All comments, suggested links, etc. welcome.