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Old 02-24-2010, 06:20 PM   #1
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Will eBooks create an elite reading class?

Bestselling author Karin Slaughter asks "Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

Quote:
On one hand, here is a device that can put a limitless supply of books at your fingertips. On the other hand, here is a device that is so expensive that only a select few can afford it. It seems to me that with digitized books, we are taking a giant leap into the past, when access to literature was available only to those of means.
Read the whole article here:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-..._b_471677.html
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:26 PM   #2
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Prices will come down way before any elite reading class can be created.

They're are already good readers for $200, simple e-ink devices will be under $100 in couple years and her point will be bunk.

And besides that, people can buy the e-books and read them on their PCs, laptops etc.--you don't HAVE to have an e-reader to get to them.

And besides that, it's not like there are many books ONLY being put out in e-versions. We're decades away from that happening and print largely disappearing.

So I don't see how reading is again a province of the upper class etc. Libraries aren't going anywhere, so even the poorest can read most books.

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Old 02-24-2010, 06:28 PM   #3
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More than a tad overstated!
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:34 PM   #4
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So are the $200 plus Ipods creating an elite music listening class?
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Old 02-24-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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MP3 players are a little different - the major cost difference between models is the amount of memory, and price/size has declined rapidly over the past few years. You can easily find small (2GB) players with a limited or no screen for $20 or less. They've replaced the music players of yesteryear with cheaper, more functional devices.

With ereaders the major cost is the screen. Mass production should help reduce costs per screen, but screen manufacturing has to become cheaper for the cost of ebook readers to dramatically drop.

I'd agree with DMaul though, that the price drop will happen way before dead tree books disappear. I have faith in capitalist ingenuity!
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:30 PM   #6
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There was an article at Teleread about the TOC conference where a publisher talks about the state of the Egyptian book market and mentions that that 8-% of published books there are only available within 5 km of where the publishing house is and how some villages may not have a bookstore but will have 4 or 5 cell phone stores. It sounds like a digital platform will open up books to MORE people, not less.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:31 PM   #7
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Wonder how long it takes people who "can't afford" an ebook reader to spend $200 on cigarettes? On beer? On cable TV? On junk food? On sporting events? It isn't what money you have-- it is how you choose to spend it.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:31 PM   #8
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"so expensive that only a select few can afford it" ?????

*boggle*

OK, maybe my viewpoint is thoroughly skewed because I'm not in the USA... over here a paperback often costs $17-20. A paperback classic (out of copyright) is often around $10. So a device which costs the same as 20 new books doesn't strike me as being particularly elitist, ya know? Especially when I wander around my low-income city streets and see all the ipods...

I'd go so far as to venture that the exact opposite will happen - that ebook readers will go mainstream and we'll find MORE people reading, not less. Partly because the shorter ebooks - ones which would never be published as DTBs because they're too low on wordage - will perfectly suit those with short attention spans and slow reading speeds.

Edited to add: I acknowledge that I'm writing from a very Western-world kind of viewpoint, where every house has a TV and the vast majority of houses have at least one computer... but surely one of the beauties of digital publishing is the possibility of printing it onto standard printer paper if needed?

Last edited by nomesque; 02-24-2010 at 07:36 PM.
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Old 02-24-2010, 07:35 PM   #9
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The same was said about computers not so long ago.
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Old 02-24-2010, 09:51 PM   #10
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Slaughter is obviously forgetting (or overlooking) the fact that e-books can be read on devices other than dedicated readers, like computers, cellphones, gameboys, PDAs, and yes, some MP3 players. And many of those devices aren't that hard for people to afford, or share, worldwide.

E-books are no less unobtainable than printed books in some areas... and more obtainable in areas where access to a real library is limited to non-existent.
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:24 PM   #11
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That's pretty funny considering that today for $300 you can give someone their own personal library of 3,000 books that they can take anywhere. What would that have cost 100 years ago? How much will it cost 3 years from now?
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Old 02-24-2010, 10:30 PM   #12
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Maybe the author is unaware that ebooks are mostly read on PCs. Dedicated devices are a relatively new phenomenon but reading on multifunction devices has been around for a while.
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Old 02-24-2010, 11:54 PM   #13
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"Will eBooks create an elite reading class?"

I am of the opinion that simply READING has become an elitist class.

EDIT: Not that I'm saying readers are elitist in general, but some people see you as a snob if you read heavily. I don't know about you, but I have a dead-end job filled with knuckle-draggers (elitist? me? no! ;> ) and we have conversations throughout the day. I like to talk about my hobbies and likes. My co-workers are much the same, except for the reading part... Sometimes, I do sense a certain degree of "I bet he thinks he's better than us" responses or looks. Although, I bet when some of them are talking about whatever it is they do, I probably have the same attitude sometimes...

But my point is, they seem to view reading itself as elitist. I wonder what they teach their children.

Last edited by tsantsa; 02-25-2010 at 12:02 AM. Reason: reclarification
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Old 02-25-2010, 12:50 AM   #14
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I'm disappointed. Karin used to have better research skills than that. I was on a board with her once, and she was a lot more coherent then...
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Old 02-25-2010, 01:17 AM   #15
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What a load of crap that was. I particularly was entertained by her alarmist view that ebooks will make censorship easier. Please. They make it harder. Any place that tries to ban an ebook will have a lot of visitors to the darknet. That is much easier and safer than trying to get your hands on a banned pbook.

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