"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." -- Groucho Marx
In an interesting article about e-books by Joshua Fruhlinger on the IBM developerWorks website, he uses this quote to start a discussion about how e-books are currently being accepted only by the early adopters, compares paper books with their digital equivalents, and raises several common criticisms of e-books:
- E-books can be physically uncomfortable to read (whether you're sitting at a desk looking at a monitor or squinting at a tiny PDA screen).
- They're not portable if you have to read them on a desktop computer; if you read them on a laptop or PDA, you can't read if you run out of power.
- There's a number of often incompatible formats that the files come in.
- And the user's ability to access the book's content is often restricted by various digital rights management technologies. (It's notable that the Baen Free Library, one of the more successful e-book outfits, gives away books that are DRM-free -- and, for that matter, free as in beer. I guess it's easy to be successful when you don't expect anyone to pay you!)
You can read the full article here
While I agree with many of his points, I would argue that as people become more accustomed to consuming digital content online, a trend that is leading to declining newspaper and magazine circulation, e-books and digital magazines are on the verge of going mainstream.