We’ve all seen it happening. The sleek, beautiful technology makes everything older than six months hideously dated and as similar to an old maid as the eight-track tape – once so desirable, but not quite special enough to hold onto for life. The iPods are flirtatious. The netbooks are alluring, and if you listen closely to the new flat panel, touch-screen monitors, you’ll hear the sirens’ song. But is this the future of books too?
I couldn’t help but laugh at the headline: Tablet OS ‘has a good bit of sexy to it’ (http://www.tuaw.com/2010/01/07/tablet-os-has-a-good-bit-of-new-sexy-to-it/). I understand the appeal. Yes, sex sells, but does it sell books? When I think of the appeal of reading books, I think of curling up in a cozy chair with a blanket pulled over me, with steaming cup of tea on the coffee table, and a cat purring lazily on my lap. I don’t have a cat and rarely drink tea, but that’s the image that pops into my mind all the same. Right Said Fred isn’t there.
This exact discord is what is holding back the Tablets, Kindles, Sony Readers, and all the others. Book-lovers don’t think sex appeal when they choose their next novel. I’m sorry Fabio, but it’s true. Only when the advertisers figure out that sexy really doesn’t sell in this case, when they can show that these e-readers can equal what has been known and loved for centuries, then, they will find their market.
Admittedly, there are some who are intrigued by the allure of the e-book, but so many others are disgusted by the idea of electronic texts. However, Sony seems to be starting to figure it out. Their reader store (http://ebookstore.sony.com/) looks like a polished library’s site rather than something to make a techie drool. They’ve even come out with leather covers to encase their Readers. I’m intrigued. I’ll admit it. Those leather covers hit a nerve, but I’m not willing to give up my hardbacks or paperbacks just yet.
Does the sexy e-book call to you? Or are you calmly content with your old-fashioned novel?