Poised to Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon from the NYTimes.com

I am hoping to see the market for eBooks to continue to grow. As a law student, I would be thrilled to be able to purchase my books in a digital format and then read and annotate them with a convertible tablet computer.  I truly believe this is the direction the world is moving in, but the question is how long will it take us to get there?  Blackberries and iPhones are becoming the platforms of choices for reading RSS feeds.  Personally, I use Viigo on a Blackberry to get most of my news.  I am able to skim the summaries and then download the full article to read if I desire.  If the topic is really interesting, I email it to myself and then use my computer to further search the internet for additional information (one of the main ways I find articles of interest to blog about).

I am glad to see competition in the eBook market as well, personally the Kindle does not hold much interest for me.  It costs almost as much as a full powered notebook and more than some netbooks, and has very limited capabilities in comparison.  In contrast, I would rather have a slate style tablet (no keyboard) that would accept pen input and have a thin light form factor.  This would give equivalent or better readability, without being difficult to transport.  This tablet would be the be the base level mobile internet device, with the next level being the convertible tablet that includes a keyboard for easier input of data/text.

The challenge I see is the need for two screens to do meaningful work with the eBook.  We are all used to looking at reference materials as we use a computer.  Using two screens on my desktop computer significantly increased my efficiency and output.  I have been thinking that if my reading material was on the same device I wanted to take notes on, it would become difficult to switch back and forth.  A second screen solves that problem.  I envision reading/highlighting a textbook/casebook with the convertible tablet in a folded position, enabling its use almost anywhere.  Then when ready to go back, review, and create notes, either docking it or just attaching an external display (imagine if you could use the slate tablet as a second monitor for the tablet/keyboard machine) and creating the notes on one screen, while still being able to review the source material on the other screen.  Now that is a solution that is incredibly efficient and has the added benefit of being “green”.  No wasted paper, no need to recycle the used books at the end of the semester. 

In future posts I will explore the costs of textbooks and what effect eBooks will have on this.  I think this topic will also be of interest to practicing attorney’s as the ability to use information in a digital format changes.  If Judges were equipped with the ability to review digital documents at the bench, wouldn’t it change the way trials were handled?  That too sounds like a worth topic to explore.


Poised to Sell E-Books, Google Takes On Amazon – NYTimes.com

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