What? How can that be a true statement? eBooks are digital. They are SoOooOOoooOo StarTrek.
The technology to pdf a file has been around for decades. Because the Kindle I and II and to infinity, Sony Reader, and tons of lesser known digital readers (and the 'widgets' to make your cell phone a book reader) are new, doesn't mean book readers are new. There have been text-to-speech (and speech-to-text) software around for a long time for visually impaired persons. (Kindle II can 'read' aloud, but some publishers disable that feature for their books.)
There are arguments (and fears) the eBook will replace printed books (yet we are thrilled with an archeological find of a Sanskrit tablet - not a worry). There are the green arguments of saving trees, a renewable resource (the chemicals and waste products of printing are much more the worry). There is the gray area of pulping books. Certainly that is better than burning them. It is recycling in a sense. The bigger mantle of pulping is it is a tribute to someone who made a bad business decision (maybe we should toss them some stimulus money for their creative greed). Printed books (fiction) can have a bookstore shelf life of only six weeks. Digital books will be around long after we are bored with them.
Why do you think the six largest publishers in New York City were not the first to go digital with their books en masse? It wasn't fear of losing printed books and it wasn't lack of funds or digital readers. Rupert Murdoch may annoy some, but he is not a fool. These publishers learned from the pirating of digital music and digital movies. Pirating books is big business in some counties - a business ignored by their governments (I have two theories for that - never mind).
I'm not in a rush to digitalize my books into eBooks. I'm not afraid of technology. I had a digital business card a few years ago and NO ONE knew what to do with it, so don't call me old school - I'm way ahead of most people.
Here is why I think eBooks are (currently) a return to the Dark Ages. Think for a moment about the skill of reading in the Dark Ages. Do you think Irish peasants were huddled around the night fire reading after a long day of tilling the rocky fields for the landowner? Where does illiteracy stand in the world today? What about today's poor?
eBooks are elitist. I don't mind that the wealthy have tons of things that I do not. But I do not have Alan Greenspan's belief in the Reaganomic trickle-down theory (crumbs are not a meal). I have yet to hear of one person donating lots of NEW computers or eBook readers (both with eBooks) to homeless shelters, much less hand one to someone who lives on the street because there are NOT enough beds in all the shelters combined to house all the people without a bed tonight.
For those who wish to replace print books with digital books it is a warp-drive reversion to the Dark Ages where only the rich could read and only the rich had access to books. It is a reversal of what Johannes Gutenberg gave civilization in 1440. Civilized society extends further than individual wealth.
Will I ever convert my books to a digital format? Yes. There is already something in the works on that. But it is not elitist. While I am a writer, and make no mistake about that, I am a social worker and see things from a 'people' perspective outside of how inexpensive it is to make eBooks and cash-in more than with printed books. I am a writer, and writers are storytellers. The audience's access should exclude no one.
Anyone (seriously) willing to pay my patent expenses may contact me, then you will see my books in digital form sooner. Until then, buy my printed books - so I can afford the patent and fund the R&D.
StarTrek, Kindle, Sony Reader are all trademarked. I don't know how to put the symbol into blogger posts.
If you have even slightly paid attention to the publishing industry news during the last decade, you know this stuff. If you have no clue what I'm talking about (where have you been???) start here: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/12/technology/internet/12digital.html?_r=3&hp and here http://www.boingboing.net/2009/04/15/if-you-lose-your-ama.html