A frequently forgotten aspect of e-readers and e-books is that, apart from altering the way that books are read, they also alter the manner by which books are published. Publishing an e-book is much easier, cheaper and less risky than getting thousands of paper books published. Authors can publish their manuscripts at the press of a button, and this has led to a lot of writers self publishing their work. It goes without saying, a lot of self published books are not very high quality - but the fact that a fair number of of the books in the different bestseller lists are self published speaks volumes. Countless authors who would never have enjoyed the possibility to be published in the outdated paper and ink publishing world have gone on to enjoy terrific success because of self publication of their own books.
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When they first appeared, e-readers attracted early adopters and geeks by and large. However, as soon as prices began to tumble and the reader hardware was improved, regular bookworms really began to pick up on the advantages of e-book readers. Most importantly, the e-ink technology display presented an excellent reading experience without the use of a back-light and therefore no eye strain.
At the end of the day, had the reading experience not been of a high quality, all of the other characteristics of e-book readers would be immaterial. However, it was, for the majority of people, as similar to reading printed text on paper as to make no perceptible difference. A lot of users also enjoyed the option of changing the font appearance and size - a convenient benefit if you've failed to remember your reading glasses.
Almost the only parties who really did not appear to be enthused, or at least not in a positive way, concerning e-readers and e-books were the established big publishing houses. There were a few altercations between big publishers and booksellers, notably Amazon, concerning e-book costing, as well as the timing of e-book launches. The existing publishing regimen would normally see the launch of a hard-cover version followed, several months later generally, by the launch of a cheaper paperback edition.
Both booksellers and the buying public wished to see the release of an e-book edition concurrent with the hardback release - and they really wanted the e-book to be substantially more affordable than the hardback. It was a genuine problem for publishing companies who earned a high portion of their returns based on the highly-priced hardback launch.
As well as providing a great reading experience, e-ink technology displays also have a very modest power demand. Energy is only needed when the colored spheres are being shifted. Once they are all in their required positions, they will remain there, supported by the viscous fluid, with no requirement to use more power.
The result of that is that e-readers can work for weeks between battery charges. Almost all suppliers claim at least a month's usage, based upon thirty minutes use daily, between charges - some readers can go even longer. That's beneficial for someone who travels a lot.
There's no possibility of finding yourself out of power and being left with nothing to read. If you're planning a reasonably short excursion, you most probably won't even need to carry your battery charger and cable connection along with you.
It seems extremely unlikely that e-books will ever fully take the place of print books, not in the foreseeable future at any rate. There are lots of book lovers who still like the feel of a printed book in their hands. Even so, the influence of e-books and e-readers in recent times is irrefutable and appears set to continue. Some industry experts have suggested that the use of e-readers will gradually decline as more and more people use tablet computers and smartphones to read on. That might well be true - but e-books are here for the long term and will play a huge part in the future of publishing.
The eBook Reader
When e-readers appeared on the market, they provided a very convenient package for reading and transporting e-books. They could keep countless electronic books in their on-board memory, and they were smaller and weighed less than the average paperback. They also made use of e-ink technology display screens, which were excellent to read text on and had an extremely low power requirement. E-readers can operate for weeks between one battery charge and the next, so there's little risk of running out of power just when you're at an exciting part of your latest blockbuster paperback. In other words, e-book readers were really the ideal instrument for reading through text based e-books. It was a marriage made in heaven; the e-reader hardware and the e-book products complemented one another just perfectly, and each one fed off the success of the other.