Welcome to the eBook and Gadget blog at TheDigitalLifestyle. I guess this could be called the Lifestyle part of the site. We’ll be covering news and views around the world of eReading and also other things that do not really fit into the more specific blogs on this site. There may inevitably be some cross over with the coverage at TDL Mobile but I am sure you will forgive us that.

So why launch this blog now?

The first answer to that is simply the time is right, eBooks are on the verge of entering mainstream, not quite there yet but pretty close. To give some support to this statement I was asked by Dad this past Christmas if I could get him one of those reader things for his present. Now my Dad is no technophobe but he isn’t an Early Adopter either.

The second answer relates to CES, when Ian and I were there virtually every stand had some sort of eReading device and  I ended up tweeting quite a bit about them but we really didn’t have a place for those posts on the site.

Why me? Good question, I am an early adopter and have been using a Sony Reader for avery long time. Many year’s ago I accidentally coined the term Convenience Computing. That is the use of computing that is instinctively easy to use and fulfills an easilly stated  purpose. Something you can just pick up and use and is actually beneficial – for me eBook readers area an excellent example of that. I am a really passionate about the idea of gadgets that actually do something useful and without complicating life – OK I do allow exceptions otherwise I wouldn’t be writing on Media Center as well – but I guess once set up that is a convenient use of computing – certainly beats a VCR for doing recordings.

Back to the subject in hand. Virtually everyone I know who has picked up my Sony Reader has been able to use it without instructions. More so they get what it is for. No need to go into some long discussion of its purpose they instinctively understand it replaces a book.  When I tell them it allows me to carry not jsut one but over a hundred books (if I wanted), without all the weight and size of a conventional printed book,  they usually ask where they can get one.

Price is still a barrier but with the plethora of devices we saw at CES I can confidantly predict we will see eReader’s sub 50 dollars within a few if not a single year. That of course is no more than the cost of a few hardbacks.

There are still issues of course around content – particularly content protection but at least we do seem to have  a standard format in ePub (well except for the Digital Rights Management(DRM) layer) which again will help to drive reader prices down as the  manufacturers now have something to target. Driving the price of books down is another matter – as the recent spat between one of the major us publishers and Amazon can show.

I do honestly think eReader’s have come of age this year and we will see a rapid maturing of this market.

In my next few posts I will address what I think makes for a good reader and then hopefully will actually review a couple of the devices.

Mine won’t be the only voice on this blog though. I hope to be joined by a travel writer who due to her travels uses an eBook regualrly and can see the eReader market from both sides of the fence. I also hope Ian will contribute his two penneth now and again.


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