Ereader Update February 2011
Originally Posted on: February 15, 2011
Younger Ereaders Catching on?
The new attraction younger people and teens have for ereaders has been noted in a New York Times article on the subject. Until now, ereaders have been seen as mainly attracting the older market, people who simply want to read and don’t want the glare of a computer screen in their face. Yet the Times notes the following:
At HarperCollins, for example, e-books made up 25 percent of all young-adult sales in January, up from about 6 percent a year before — a boom in sales that quickly got the attention of publishers there. “Adult fiction is hot, hot, hot, in e-books,” said Susan Katz, the president and publisher of HarperCollins Children’s Books. “And now it seems that teen fiction is getting to be hot, hot, hot.”
At least part of the push is because parents are buying their kids ereaders as Christmas presents. One could think of many reasons for that. For one, they are cheaper than tablets or an iPad. For another, they are far more beneficial for the kids themselves in getting them to read something other than chat and the abbreviated spurts of data that pass for communications these days. Yet, it’s not all parents. It seems that the kids are taking a liking to the readers.
It’s not hard to leap ahead to a generation where kids have dedicated ereaders for the real reading and for studying, as well as tablets for the games and other stuff. A book requires immersion, and nothing helps that better than removing the distractions and taking away the backlighting that is just now being shown to have profound negative effects on people.
Kindle Software Goes Social
In what appears to be a bid to broaden out a bit, Amazon is adding social features to its latest “firmware” the the Kindle 3 ereader. Aware that people like to share their thoughts about books, the Version 3.1 firmware allows readers to make their highlights and notes accessible for others to view. There are some other features as well that Amazon hopes will encourage readers to exchange ideas about books while using the Kindle. One interesting add-on will be the ability for readers to write reviews and instantly post them on social networks such as Facebook, all from their Kindle.
This is still early days for ereaders, so we will likely see all kinds of changes come and go in an attempt to give readers all they need to enjoy the reading experience without…well, destroying the reading experience by making an ereader into a tablet.