Technology usually comes in waves. Remember when CB Radio was the best (and coolest) way to communicate when outside your house? Then came the big bag phones. We loved the feeling of freedom, untethered from our home. Cellular Phones have evolved into everything since.
Book readers have been around for a long time. Over a decade ago, companies like VeriSoft, and the Guttenberg Project were creating alternatives to tactile books.
Amazon threw its marketing muscle into the Kindle last year, and since, there’s been a flurry of trying to provide potential digital book readers with many ways of accessing (and purchasing) books online. The key to the Kindle, and everything that’s come since, is in the distribution method. Wi-Fi has enabled Amazon to seamlessly deliver thousands of online books to readers. Barnes & Noble, and others have followed with their own devices.
Lately, Amazon, B&N, and Stanza, have made reading an online book on your iPhone or iPod as simple as downloading a song on iTunes. This new reality has book publishers and distributors scrambling to capture a piece of this growing segment. Can you actually read a 300 page book on a 3″ screen? Thousands of downloads from the iPhone apps store seems to suggest that many are willing to try.
Just like the yearning for communication led us down the path from CB Radio to our modern cellular devices, it’s clear to me that we are still in the infancy of online book reading. With so many choices entering the fray, along with improved delivery services and ever-improving technology, online book-reading may be the real growth segment for 2010 and years to come.