the Web | Writing

Ebooks are not books, and books will live FOREVER!

June 27, 2011

Ebooks are not books. They’re not ‘electronic’ books. In the same way that MP3s are not vinyl and Second Life isn’t real life (who’da thunk?).

The book industry is not moving to ebooks. The publishing industry is expanding from paper to electronic screens. The losers will be those who think they are moving to electronic books. The Kindle has electronic books, but tablets allow publishers to look beyond electronic books. An interactive experience is not an electronic book experience. It’s something different altogether.

When ridiculing someone for calling an old library ‘the Internet of the 18th century’, you have a point. A book is a book. It’s a collection of words on paper. The internet is a medium for transmitting information, and more recently for engaging in conversation over that information. The Internet is books plus phone plus fax plus computing power plus image creation and information manipulation engine.

The publishing industry should not move ‘to’ ebooks. They will fail unless they *add* electronic (possibly interactive) publishing to their portfolio. They need to not redefine what a book is, but invent a new medium, and take advantage of the new platforms which have become available. Publishers have the experience to be able to do this, but it’s not their book printing experience, it’s their content management experience.