era begins in Britain
By Venkata Vemuri
Sep 2 (IANS) The digital era will worm its way into the world
of books in Britain later this week.
and leading British bookseller Waterstone's are launching
the Sony Reader Thursday, believing the 199 pound ($400) gizmo
will promise to make people keep reading longer.
e-book is four millimetres thick, weighs nine ounces - the
size of an average paperback - and comes with a 200 MB memory.
It mimics the page-turning of an ordinary novel, though you
need to press a button to flick to the next page, which some
might find cumbersome in the era of touch-screen technology.
unlike a computer, there is no glare on the screen, which
will not be easy on the eye initially. When you switch it
on, it brings up the last page you read and text can be magnified.
Sony Reader will be sold with a CD containing 100 books and
plays, including "Dracula", "Romeo and Juliet",
"Pride and Prejudice" and "Great Expectations".
has tens of thousands of titles waiting to be downloaded on
to the e-book from its website. Buying one will cost about
the same as a traditional book.
device, however, is not the first e-book to hit the market.
Amazon has been selling its Kindle in the US for about 200
pounds and Borders sells its own version, the Iliad, for 399
and publishers are divided on the future of the e-book, making
one think that like the once unwieldy mobile phone, e-book
technology has a way to go before everybody buys one.
Makinson of Penguin said: "There is a broad audience
out there for electronic books. To what extent they will be
a major alternative to traditional books, we don't know."
By 2010, he predicts e-books will account for one percent
of sales, according to the Daily Mail.
author Nick Hornby, whose novels include "Fever Pitch",
is sceptical. "There is currently much consternation
in the industry about the future of the conventional book,
but my suspicion is that it will prove to be more tenacious
than the CD. Readers of books like books," he said.