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I have blogged enthusiastically about ebooks and sell my own in various formats, but up until now I have been sitting on the fence as regards a dedicated ebook reader. I currently use my PC, netbook and iPhone to read ebooks but none of them are ideal. I definitely want an ebook reader, and would have bought a Kindle but they are not available in Australia, and now I am swayed by the Apple tablet.
I want one. The sooner, the better. Let me explain why!
Why do I want an ebook reader in general?
I love books and I want to consume more of them, for a cheaper price. This is what it comes down to for me. I know publishers (and some authors) lament the advent of ebooks, but they are brilliant. I spend a not insignificant amount of money each month on books, and I would probably spend more with ebooks. I devour books. I love reading and I would take a chance on more authors if it weren't so expensive to buy a paperback fiction in Australia. (I am English and miss the everso cheap books desperately!)
I want a portable library when I travel. I recently went to Bali for a relaxing holiday and read 6 books, most of which were relaxing fiction novels I won't read again. I bought them in Bali because they were so much cheaper than in Australia, but I would have loved to take a ‘loaded' ebook reader and have more choice. I also commute for almost 2 hours per day to get to the city for my consulting work and it would be great to have an ebook reader so I have a choice of reading. I take a book every day but sometimes I take something I should read, and then it's not what I feel like on the way home!
I want to read more and Australia currently doesn't offer the selection I want. I get most of my books from Amazon. com or Amazon.co.uk. Even with the shipping, it is generally cheaper for me than to buy them here. Plus I usually buy books based on online recommendations or ideas, so ordering from home is easy. But then I have to wait a few weeks for the book to arrive, whereas with a wireless ebook reading device, I could just get on with reading it.
I want US magazines when they come out. I love the magazine Fast Company – it combines the business/IT me with the creative me. It is August at the weekend and I still don't have the July edition. If I had a tablet I could read it and other magazines online when they come out, and also with no wasted paper.
Why do I want an Apple tablet, and not one of the other myriad options?
I have been lusting after a Kindle, but since they are not available in Australia and don't seem to be on the horizon, I had put that idea on hold and was evaluating other options. Then I read this Wired article today and immediately set up a little savings account!
Why is it (potentially) so great?
Apple gets it right for consumers. I have an iPod on which I listen to podcasts and audios books, and I have a much loved iPhone which I read the blogs on, tweet and many other things. These 2 gadgets are pretty central to my life in that I use them every day. (I can live without them, but why would I want to!) I enjoy the experiences I have on these gadgets, they are easy to use and effective for purpose. As a consumer, I am very happy!
Apple has a track record of sorting out digital media. I buy my music and audiobooks on the iTunes store. I don't go anywhere else. I also buy TV shows and rent movies on iTunes (as we don't have a TV). I find the iTunes store easy to use, easy payment and easy downloading to my devices. I can buy one song, or an album and I trust that the quality is good and it will work. I also get free digital media with podcasts. With the experience of de-Napsterising music, I hope that Apple could navigate the difficulties of digital publishing and enable the best solution for everyone in the industry. Yes, there are plenty of ebook stores and ebook readers, but I personally would love to plug my Apple reader into iTunes BookStore (and still buy my books on Amazon if desired!)
Possible features? With the App store taking off, the possibilities are endless for the tablet and ebooks if they are integrated. I definitely want wireless capability for getting newspapers and blogs on the go, as well as e-ink and long battery life that the Kindle has in order to read in sunlight.
I would pay for international newspapers (The UK Guardian) and magazines (Fast Company, Time, Property Investor).
I would like a visual library for my ebooks with shelves I could organise on the tablet screen so I can pick my books easier – like the scrolling album covers on the iTunes store.
I want to be able to write notes on the ebook I am reading as I go – with a stylus on the screen maybe? These notes could be saved into a file that I can work on later and turn into a blog post or a research for a book. And definitely no DRM!
So Dear Apple – Please, please, please turn the tablet into a brilliant ebook reading device and pretty please can you make it available in Australia!