Home Tech Angst in the world of dedicated ebook readers

Angst in the world of dedicated ebook readers


Tony Cole of eBookAnoid, the world’s greatest enthusiast for e-ink book readers, is having a moment of angst:

“Then came the iPad and the whole thing changed.”

There are two distinct camps in the blossoming ebook world: Those who prefer a multi-function device with backlit screen, such as the iPad; and those who like the minimalist, no-distraction environment provided by the likes of the Kindle. Tony has no doubt and is firmly in the no-frills, head-down-and-just-read camp. I, on the other hand, have tried the Kindle and, before that, Sony readers but now definitely prefer a backlit screen and the convenience of carrying just one device that offers versatility.

Now, though, the tremendous world-wide success of the iPad has upset e-ink’s applecart a little, despite the acknowledged success of the latest Kindle.

Read Tony’s heart search here.


  1. I am not a complete Luddite, as might appear from Michael's description above. I appreciate that we are not all of the same persuasion when it comes to gadgets, and can completely understand why one person wants all functions united into one moderately handy device they can carry around with them easily, and others prefer to have various devices, each of which is specifically designed to do a particular job.
    Luckily for both groups, that choice is still available, iPad, smart phones and tablets (and the cheaper end of the ereader market) have their backlit screens, and those who prefer to read with e-ink screens have their Kobos, Nooks and Sony ereaders on which to do this.
    As a blogger, I obviously have to cover all types, and do so, but equally, I am happily free to state my own preferences when it comes to which device I prefer for myself.
    This is a discussion that Michael and I have had for quite some time now, and we will probably never agree with each other, as we come from opposite ends of the gadget world really.
    But it is fun to bat such thoughts around the place.

    By the way, this is the first visit I have made to your blog since you changed it (yet again), I like your new cloths, very smart and distinguished looking.

  2. Tony: I wasn't suggesting in the slightest that you are a Luddite, far from it. Luddites would never accept electronic book readers in any shape or form. And, of course, your championing of e-ink technology is very valid. Who knows, you could be right in the long term. I do think, though, that had it not been for the success of the Kindle the e-ink market would have problems.

    I suspect many iPad owners could conclude, on balance, that the reading experience with e-ink is more restful and rewarding than with backlit LCD. I know that many iPad owners also own a Kindle. For the masses, though, the temptation of a multi-function device over a one-trick pony is irresistible.

    It will certainly be interesting to see how things pan out. In the meantime we can have a good old argument. Thanks, by the way, for the kind comment on the blog. Clothes maketh not a blog, but they certainly help.

  3. Thanks Michael for refuting my self confessed Luddite inclinations…. Perhaps there is hope for me yet. In fact, apropos the ereader/tablet e-ink/LCD argument, I get enough emails and comments on my blog to assure me that it is probably a more or less equal situation currently with proponents of both types of systems about equal, as the combined sales of such devices also indicates. Though one cannot use the sales of tablets and Ipads relative to dedicated ereaders as any sort of confirmation that the multifunctional is per se more popular, since it is a bit like apples (no pun intended) and pears really…. One is a device to do one job, the other to do a number of jobs, and thus obviously appeals to a slightly different public.

    As you say, we shall see in the fullness of time.


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