The eBooks business has exploded in recent months. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, as a consequence, what we seem to have is chaos. There is a danger that eBooks will degenerate into little more than long text messages. Anyone who can half string a sentence together is uploading to Amazon. The result is, instead of a huge and impressive electronic library, we seem to have the digital equivalent of a skip, or as our American cousins would say, a dumpster.
Let’s not be churlish, Kindle from Amazon was the great enabler, but time moves on. There is about to be – if it is not already happening – a great change in the way people view words and pictures. I am referring to the advent of tablets and devices that are half way between tablets and phones: devices that both connect to the internet on the move via 4G networks (like mobile phones do) and that connect at home via Wi-Fi as with a conventional laptop or PC.
Either Kindle has to become more like a tablet-phone or else it becomes an obsolete one-use gadget. My point is: the Amazon-Kindle stranglehold on eBooks is falling away. There are other ways of selling eBooks now. Restricting eBooks sales to Kindle is like saying you are only prepared to sell a book in Foyle’s on Charring Cross Road. However prestigious the company, the resources of all other booksellers have to be corralled.
Another enormous change in the eBook market is rolling towards us – if, indeed the word eBook continues to be used.