Dear Google, Kindle, Kobo…
I’m a relatively new fan of eReaders, but now I’m sold on them.
No doubt I will still have times when I want to “unplug”, but I don’t miss carrying around cumbersome books. There are some books on my shelf I’ve been wanting to read but haven’t because I’d need a Sherpa to get it around (Brother Fish or Dune 3-in-1 edition). Convenience is King which is why I’ve even bought a few e-books whose physical manifestations gather dust on the shelf.
I’ve read some traditional publishers recently saying that e-books are declining in sales. With no proof whatsoever I declare Fiddlesticks! I don’t believe it, and the only way I can believe it is if you are stacking the deck and describing dodgy numbers. Why? Because convenience is King, and people are getting more tech savvy, not less.
The truth is though, eBooks should be doing much better. There are of course questions of quality and price, but I want to look at functionality. I have Kindle and Google Books on my phone. Both applications provide roughly the same functionality:
- Table of contents
- Mark (highlight)
- (Limited) copy
- (Kindle also shows me which bits other people like… thanks, I think).
Which I have to say, is a bit ho-hum. I mean, Google… come on, YOU can do so much better. (If I have to resort to mockery to get better software, I will). There is so much potential to do amazing things; to deliver a knock-out blow to physical books. There is huge scope for innovation.
- Why isn’t there more artwork in e-books?
- Why isn’t there internal “dictionaries” and other reference materials e.g. Family trees more often? I’m not suggesting for a minute these should be in-text but rather accessible through a simple menu system.
- What about interactive maps that show you the location of all your characters at any time?
- What about the ability to seamlessly alert the author to typos, or deliver your verdict on a passage with a thumbs-up-or-down.
As an author I crave interaction with my readers. I want to hear their thoughts (but will settle for reading them until we evolve telepathy). A good platform that helps me connect is golden.
- What about blog-follow and twitter-links for the authors?
- Remember those choose-your-own adventure books? How long until we get ROLE-PLAYING-NOVELS. Yes, that deserves capitals (and no I don’t play role playing games, but the idea is so awesome it could break your eyes just reading it). Where is the software that incrementally reveals text based on my decisions or “in-story belongings or attributes”? WORLD-BREAKING; and you read it first here, folks.
There is so much more that e-readers could be delivering to both the authors and the readers. Get a move on with it, I say.