Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The E-Reader Wars

A recent publication regarding the "war" between e-book readers has left me scratching my head.

Hey, guys! This isn't Highlander, where "there can be only one". To me, e-readers are like cars. Some people prefer FORD, some want their Toyotas, and others go for the BMWs. If there can be a multitude of car dealers all selling basically the same item, why can't e-book readers be the same?

However, there is one major bump in the road with this analogy. All those cars use regular unleaded gasoline. The same can't be said of e-readers when it comes to formats.

I remember back in the days of BETA tapes vs VHS standard. One wouldn't play on the other. So if you bought into BETA, you soon found yourself out a lot of $$ when the norm became VHS. Same for Blu-Ray DVDs.

Why can't e-readers adopt one basic "standard" for their e-books, and let the public make their own decision as to which vehicle they want to drive? Sometimes the public may want to buy Book One by Author A, but can't find it in the format that their e-reader demands. Result? A lost sale. If enough of that occurs, then the public may ditch that e-reader and/or buy another one that the book they want is available in.

Maybe I'm seeing this all wrong, but to me these so-called wars sound an awful lot like high school football teams bragging and battling it out over who is better. And we the reading public are sitting in the bleachers, awaiting the outcome so we can go home.

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