The Rapid Rise of the E-Book

Last week I had the pleasure of presenting e-publishing to the Island Writers' Network of Hilton Head Island. While I resources were gathered since booking the engagement in the summer, I must admit I didn't put the presentation together until a week before the event. I was glad I waited! If I had done the work even a month ago I would have had to delete most of the work I had done and almost start over. The reason is e-publishing is evolving so fast it is leaving me in an almost state of shock.

I know many who just love the feel of a traditional, paper-bound book but I also noticed the increasing number of people carrying e-readers. A couple of days ago a Facebook friend asked if she should buy a Kindle or a Nook. Local retailers are starting to carry up to five different e-readers. E-book sales are now overtaking hard copy books, something I thought would happened in another five years. Companies including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Lulu, and Smashwords are making publishing to e-reader formats as easy as uploading a document to their websites. The companies do all the conversions and you just wait for the money to roll in from sales (well not that easy a task).

This explosive growth in e-publishing should be great news for beleaguered students weighed down by heavy bookbags. Barnes & Noble just made things interesting by announcing the Nook Color. The latest Nook is a full color touch screen device that will run the Android operating system. Barnes & Noble says the Nook Color will be able to show videos and surf the Internet, what e-textbooks need to be effective. The $249 price tag makes it a compelling device to purchase over the iPad if all you want is an enhanced e-reader. A big drawback is users will not be able to add any Android apps but Barnes & Noble plans to offer their own app store. Even if the Nook Color does not fit the e-textbook bill it is a major step forward. With the rate e-readers are progressing, it won't be long before better devices will enter the market. Note to IT leaders: you better figure out how to integrate Android or iOS into your networks. It does not look like Microsoft is doing too much in the tablet and e-reader areas.

Let me know what you think about e-readers. In the meantime I am going to curl up with my Nook and catch up on some reading.