What would an ebook reader have to be like to replace a paperback?
Reading is an important part of my life. Since a paperback is often companion, guide and comfort for me I’d like to be sure its replacement is up to the job.As an exercise in wishful thinking, here are the qualities that an electronic replacement (call it the x-reader) for a paperback would have to have; ruggedness, ubiquity, affordability, independence and openness.
My x-reader will have to go where I go and deal with it. When I toss my x-reader in a backpack, fall asleep and roll over on it or drop it on the floor beside a bath tub I expect it to be there and functional when I pick it up. I don’t expect it to stand being stepped on, immersed in water or twisted by enraged former sex partners but it can’t break underany of the stresses normally encountered by a paperback.
And like a paperback it will have to be available anywhere, to anyone and at an affordable cost. You should be able to grab an x-reader off the rack in a dollar store, scoop it into your shopping basket while shopping for food or grab it at a gas station. When you go into a furnished room, there should be a collection of battered x-readers nestled on a shabby shelf. Hotels should give them away as part of a courtesy kit and theGideons should tuck them into nightstand drawers for the bored traveller. They should be next to the little displays of disposable lighters in convenience stores and sold for nickles and dimes in the thrift stores. They should be obtainable anywhere with the means at your disposal.
As well, the x-reader must be capable of operating without batteries, external verification or a net connection although all of these things would be optional.This implies that the x-reader must use very little power and be capable of being recharged either by energy transferred from the user(squeezing, moving, cranking) or by light, operate without authorization by an external authority and a net connection.
To ‘operate as a reader’ means to allow you to immerse yourself in someone else’s created universe and to do that you must have their created universe,in whatever form, on your x-reader. It must be able to transfer material to and from; another x-reader, another type of device,external storage and of course all of these things (and more) over the net. There will have to be a default content format and a limited set of extended formats which are gracefully translatable to the default format. The current insanity will reduce down to this overtime or else a wave of hyper-frustrated consumers overwhelmed by the pressure of dealing with an infinity of arbitrary, non-functional and expensive formats will engulf human civilization and it will be claws, teeth and flame all the way down.
My vision is to lie down at night, pick up my paperback sized x-reader and bring up an author’s work at a touch. I read for a while, sailing off into my personal dreamworld, then fall asleep with the x-reader on my chest.When I awake yawning I pick it up from where it has been rolled on over the course of the night, throw it in my backback where it bounces around as I fuel up and head out. On the bus I continue reading, then at work I place I absentmindedly leave my backpack in a doorway where it gets crunched ruining my x-reader. Mildly annoyed with myself, I stop at a convenience store while walking home from the bus stop and buy a replacement with pocket change. At home I plug it into my pc, restore all my favourite dreamworlds and sail away.Let’s hope this vision becomes reality.