“Millions of books are now available for downloading from the Internet from thousands of sources. Some eBooks are available for purchase while others are free of charge. 2010 will see far more content available to the consumer as well as the emergence of a new breed of eBook device that gives readers the freedom to browse and download a range of texts directly to their eBooks,” Ottoy predicted.
“As a result, the enormous and magnificent collections made available by organisations such as Gutenberg, World Public Library and even Google Books will be directly accessible, and viewable in colour, on an eBook rather than reading them on a PC.”
Describing himself as a long-term “true believer” in the great potential of eBooks to win the hands and hearts of consumers and corporate customers, Ottoy says that since the 1990s he has imported a wide range of eBook products as well as undertaking a long-term project to design and develop his own eBook device.
According to Ottoy, the eBook sector is still relatively small in global terms, with annual sales of about five million devices, but he predicts that, as this market expands during 2010, we will see more players enter the market which will put downward pressure on retail prices from the current $400-$1200.
“Those price reductions are great for both consumers and for the market itself because eBooks have so much potential. eBooks can provide people who have vision difficulties or other disabilities with ready access to the world’s literature. Adjustable font sizes, colours and icons make reading a far more enjoyable experience while electronic distribution makes it a much less expensive proposition.
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“The most exciting opportunity though is due to the multi-purpose nature of the emerging technologies which will result in the availability of more than one million books and reference manuals. We will also start seeing more software specifically developed for eBook devices and, as a result, much greater use of this technology for business and consumer applications. While we remain far from the promised paperless office, the technology is now there to at least reduce that significant cost.”
“Devices such as the Nook eBook, which incorporates a small colour screen below the main eInk gray-scale screen, finally acknowledge the need for colour in order to grow the market,” he said.
“However, the Nook still only displays pages in gray-scale. While it’s a cool device, many view it as a clumsy attempt to overcome the shortcomings of eInk technology.
“The next wave of eBook devices will provide full colour, rather than the current gray-scale screens. They will also be multi-purpose, open and customisable devices, with built-in web browsing, email and word processing and native support for various file formats, such as PDF. Readers will be able to access any website, enjoy the book as the author intended, especially if it’s in colour, and avoid the need to convert files to eBook format with a desktop computer.
“Being open, customisable and multi-purpose, this new breed of eBook device will also be ideal for business use. Reading diverse file formats and providing online access, these devices will satisfy the growing need to send documents to employees, especially the mobile workforce, including students.”