Reading eBooks from eBook readers similar to the Amazon Kindle and Sony Reader will eventually be the preferred reading method for millions worldwide, predicts Knowledge Center analyst J. Gerry Purdy. He predicts we'll see 75 percent worldwide adoption of eBook readers in less than 10 years from when eBook readers contain the right set of technologies. Here, Purdy explains what features will someday make eBooks and eBook readers ubiquitous.
we are all going to be reading books with some form of eBook reader.
While some may doubt this prediction, let me explain why. And I hope,
after you read what I have to say, that you just may agree with me.
First, let's counter the prediction with an observation about
reading books on current eBook readers: it's not an enjoyable or
"better" experience than reading a paper-bound book. Hence, that's why
very few people actually use eBook readers today.
Let me make another prediction: eBook readers are not going to be
successful until they offer book lovers a better, more worthwhile and
enjoyable reading experience than traditional paper-bound books do
today. To be sure, all of this hinges on what providing a "better"
experience actually means. While it's easy to say eBook readers today
do not provide a better user experience, it's more difficult to
describe what must be done in order to make the user experience "good
enough" (so that most people reading a book would prefer an eBook
reader than a paper-bound book).
It seems to me that someday, someone should be able to make an eBook
reader that would be really slick--so cool that, emotionally, seeing
this new eBook reader would be like seeing the iPhone for the first
time. You'd feel as if it was really right and that you'd "have to"
Here are 15 features that I believe eBook readers must have in
order for most people to want to use one instead of reading a
1. Correct size
The correct size for an eBook reader is larger than an iPhone and
smaller than an ultraportable. It would likely have a 6-inch by 8-inch
diagonal display and be very thin like the iPod touch. It's got to be
light and feel elegant in your hand.
2. Instant on/off
You have to be able to turn the eBook reader on and off instantly,
without any "boot-up time" (other than perhaps when you buy it, plug in
the batteries and turn it on for the first time). It's an appliance,
not a PC. It would likely be based on Linux and operate like TiVo.
3. Great (natural) user interface
Apple doesn't need to distribute a user's manual for the iPhone. You
just pick it up, turn it on and it works the way you expect it to work.
That's the kind of UI that will be in our future eBook readers. Could
it be based on the Apple iPhone operating system? Sure. But, most
likely, it will be more of an open standard. And if I were betting, it
would more likely be based on Android
than the iPhone.
4. High-contrast, high-resolution, bright color display
This seems impossible today, but the iPhone display leads me to
believe that this is possible. It would also need to work well indoors
and out. The technology used in the rugged laptops from General Dynamics
comes to mind as an example of this capability.
The current eBook reader displays that use eInk technology are just
too slow. There's way too much latency between displaying the
characters and making changes. But, advances in technology will solve
this over the coming years. It may take a breakthrough in display to
get something that's great to look at over extended periods, is bright
and readable (both indoors and out), as well as "pliable" so that it
can adapt to changing pressures as you walk around.
5. Random access
This is basic, but really important because it's already one of the
capabilities of most eBook readers: you can select a chapter or
bookmark, and then jump instantly to that place in any of the eBooks in
which you are reading.