The sound of one hand clapping

…because the other one is holding an ebook.

Russell Beattie seems to have outed Christian Lindholm from Nokia’s blog, which is a relief as I can start pointing to it too. A nice little observation here around e-books. Maybe he should go to Cory Doctorow’s Etech session.

“I believe that Smartphones have a good chance of evolving into reading devices. The Series 60 screen is now big and bright enough for rather comprehensive reading. Many users have read e-books on their Palms and I used to do it on my Newton back in 1993. One of the things that attract me with mobile e-books is making book/document reading one-hand operated, which books typically aren’t.”

I’m not sure it’s impossible to read a book one handed, but it’s neither that confortable for you or the book’s spine. I’m not sure either it’s that comfortable to read a book on a phone just yet, but I’ve never tried it.

I guess I was holding out for the nice, crisp, rollable eInk displays.

3 comments
  1. Well, try reading a book while standing on a NYC subway. Ah, how much sooner would I have finished a QuickSilver ebook had I been able to synch it to my palm…

  2. Hmm. The thing that an ebook must offer is at least the same level of usability as a paper book. That means it has to offer the same level of readability as a paper book: And that, in part, depends on the size of the reading area. The more you have to interact with a book by turning the page, the more distracted you are from the content that you’re reading – and thus, the less “involved” you become with a book. There are limits to this, of course – but it’s no coincidence that the minimum practical size for a book has been about the same for centuries. On any phone I’ve ever seen, you’d have to scroll ever three or four seconds, and that level of “page turning ” activity is simply too high.

    I use a Clie NR-70V for reading ebooks, which has a soft Grafitti area and thus give a larger surface for reading: And even on that, the amount of page turning you have to do is annoying.

    There’s a bit of a fallacy in the quote as well: “Many users have read e-books on their Palms…”. I’d bet that an astoundingly low proportion of Palm owners read ebooks on them. In fact, of the people I know with Palms, I’m the only one that does, at least regularly. Sales of ebooks suggest I’m not wrong about this…

  3. Meredith Bullock said:

    No matter what market indicators suggest, reading a book from a Palm or cell phone will never replace buying a physical book at Barnes & Nobles or Waterstones bookshops, despite Ian’s reflection on the “physical” interaction you experience with it…that is unless they plan to offer cheaper grande latte and espresso with that.

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