5 Reasons Why Wired Is Clueless About Ebooks

A recent article in the Wired Epicenter blog makes some interesting points, but it is completely off base with it’s 5 reasons…

5 Reasons Why E-Books Aren’t There Yet | Epicenter | Wired.com

1. There are plenty of third-party places that keep up with your reading, so you don’t forget what you started. Just one example is Goodreads, where, in your profile, you can list books in progress and how much progress you’ve made on them. For me, just seeing my Kindle on my desk is enough to remind me that I have plenty of reading to do.

2. Maybe this point comes from the app-bound world of iPad and smartphones, but I have all my books in not one, but two places: my Calibre library and my Kindle. The Kindle has enough storage to keep a truly ridiculous library bigger than you will ever read in your lifetime. And the point made here about being tied to a single company with a reader is just wrong. There are plenty of sources for ebooks, and non-DRM’d ebooks are a click away from whatever reader you use with Calibre and other format converters.

3. Kindle lets me share highlights and notes in a standard way on kindle.amazon.com. It almost seems like the Wired writer here has never even used Kindle software on their iPad. Sure, I wouldn’t want to type anything very lengthy on the Kindle keyboard, but how long do notes in a book’s margin typically get anyway. The Kindle thumb-button keyboard is more than sufficient for brief notes.

4. E-books are only costly if you only ever buy from the big publishers and you only buy them brand new. Typically by the time a mass market paperback is out, publishers will reduce the eBook price to be in line with that of a paperback. And while the lending features of the Kindle are severely limited, it definitely is possible to loan most books you can buy for Kindle. The point about ebooks not being social is nonsense, just because the item itself isn’t easily sharable doesn’t mean devalue sites like Goodreads, LibraryThing, or even message boards like KindleBoards.

5. I’ll give the writer this point: you can’t decorate your house with ebooks. I find that argument about as compelling as the “smell of paper” argument he dismisses at the beginning of the piece.

Wired, if you’re going to have someone write a bunch of stuff about eBooks, you ought to pick someone who has a little more experience with ebooks, ereaders, and the internet culture of ebooks and independent authors.

reposted with permission from the Ebookfab blog


  1. Timothy Wilhoit10 June, 2011

    My favorite line was in the comment section where the author was accused of offering the piece as “link bait,” the author responding sarcastically (I guess??) “Thanks for falling for my clever little trap!” 😉

  2. Scott_T10 June, 2011

    I gave up on wired long ago, nothing can be written there without some kind of apple promotion.

  3. Chris10 June, 2011

    The claim that the Kindle kicked this all off was enough to know they didn’t have much information on the subject. But here we go:
    1) My Sony tells me I haven’t finished my book yet every time I turn it on. I start a book, I finish it. Unless I have no desire to, of course.

    2) Doesn’t Really Matter to some folks. I think being able to buy from which ever source you want to be a good thing. One of the reasons I don’t care in my reader has wireless or not.

    3) My Sony handles highlighting, notes (typed or handwritten) and doodles for that matter with relative ease. The new gen ereaders, like the NookST and the Kobo Touch probably offer much the same.

    4) I don’t think of an ebook anymore disposable than a pbook. Ebooks have the advantage of taking up a helluva lot less space. And seeing as how many free/cheap ebooks there are, even if you could get pbooks for the same price, there would still be the costs involved in going out there and getting them.

    5) That’s my one concern with switching to ebooks; no pretentious backdrop for when the the tv news sets up to interview me. A few rare pbooks, instead of shelves clogged with a pile of bound pulp picked up the mall is much more impressive IMO. Once ebooks become the norm, publishers could always offer high quality pbook editions.

  4. Michael Anderson10 June, 2011

    “The claim that the Kindle kicked this all off was enough to know they didn’t have much information on the subject.”

    EXACTLY, Chris! That line made me wonder what I had been doing for more than 15 years before the Kindle arrived …

    I do think pricing is a pain – I have a new nook Touch (I know … I have abdicated my human rights) and wanted a copy of Atlas Shrugged, and it was $18.99! No thanks! I’ll read it via my old copy on the iPad, thanks …

    But the rest was a throwaway …

    1. Chris11 June, 2011

      I remember reading “Fallen Angels”. The bit where one of the protagonists takes a Sony Bookman to a technophilic buddy to get replicated in spite of the Luddite ban (on my Sony no less). I knew the technology had been around for a while. But I didn’t know it had been around that long.

      At least he didn’t play the “touch and smell” card. So there’s that.

  5. […] The Digital Reader explains why Wired is clueless about ebooks. […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Scroll to top