I’ve gotten in the habit of ambushing people who come to our house with my Sony Reader (a couple weeks ago, several colleagues from my old job; this weekend, my parents). If they don’t get too bored, I then show them the various readers on an iTouch. I’m fascinated to see how people interact with the devices, especially if they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the future of ebooks, like I do.
Apparently I’m not the only one. There’s a great piece in this weekend’s On The Media about reading a book in multiple formats (one tree, two e, and one audio) and the subtle, situational advantages of each. The winner is a little surprising.
Once again, this makes me wonder if focusing on selling formats ala carte is missing out. Would people be interested in buying multiplatform books? One price gets you audio, ebook, and tree book. Is there a case to be made for trying this in YA? Is this the audience most likely to give it a fair shot? (Of course, I’m thinking ebooks on smartphone/iPod screens, not Kindles.)
Also, does this begin to address the ownership issue that arises from the current ebook chaos? Gizmodo has a good piece on this from over the weekend. Not surprisingly, Amazon is making this out to be the publishers’ faults. “If they’d just give us everything we want, then there’d be no problem.” I think it’s much more complicated than that.