Wednesday, June 23, 2010

New R-Book will "leave current e-book technologies in the dust"

The e-book and publishing industries were thrown into turmoil yesterday by a little noticed announcement from an upstart technology company.

Reeve Hobbs, CEO of tiny Kumquat Technologies, unveiled his company’s surprising new “R-Book,” which seems likely to leave current e-book technologies in the dust.

“Unlike the competition,” Hobbs said, “The R-Book is designed to do just one thing--to serve as the best possible platform for reading books. And it quite simply kicks butt at what it does.”

Current e-book technologies, Hobbs pointed out, are forced to make compromises because they are trying to do many things at once--be a reader not only for books, but also for newspapers and magazines; be able to surf the web, send and receive tweets, check blogs, email, facebook, etc., etc. “These devices bring the distraction factor of the internet into what should be the focused activity of reading a book. Who wants to be interrupted by their girlfriend’s tweet about this hot guy she just met, when they are totally absorbed with their own affair with the smokin Mr. Darcy?”

But the ultimate compromise of e-books, according to Hobbs, is in their use of a screen as their reading delivery system. “When it comes to reading, there’s been research available for years that shows that screens are totally lame. You don’t remember as much and you don’t understand as much when you read on a screen. Who wants to invest hours reading a book--and then not remember what they’ve read a few days later?

“It’s pathetic, really. Smart guys like Bezos and Jobs set out to re-invent the book, and all they can come up with is another stupid screen? It looks like that’s all they know anymore. They’ve lost the ability to think outside the screen.

“From day one in designing the R-Book we knew we had to come up with something better than the screen. And we have. The R-Book uses the best display for reading that’s ever been invented. Period. If you’re reading from any other display, you’re reading the dummies version.”

Then, picking up a small, rectangular gift wrapped package, Hobbs announced: “Here it is folks. The R-Book. The best reading device on the planet. Accept no second-rate substitutes.” Unwrapping the package, he placed the R-Book on a small, spot-lit table.

The audience drew in their breath as they got their first look at the future of reading. The R-Book. Printed pages handsomely bound together, creating a small, light object. A Real Book.

Real Books. If it’s worth reading...THINK OUTSIDE THE SCREEN.

--For more on the digital distraction factor see The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. Published by W.W. Norton, 2010.

--For more on research into the deficiencies of reading from screens see The pages can be printed for better understanding.

--For help in finding an R-Book that’s right for you, see your local bookseller.


skvidal said...

I concur about the deficiencies of ebooks. I don't own a kindle or an ipad or whatever the sony one is, but there are a couple of things I would like to suggest:

1. ebook readers do allow you to scale font sizes and that helps for folks with bad vision, tired eyes, etc. The large print books do exist but they aren't as ubiquitous as I'd like them to be.

2. If the regulator had a way of selling books for the ipad or whatever the sony device is through either your store on 9th street or through your website, I would most likely buy one of those devices and buy my ebooks exclusively through you.

I don't think ebooks make sense for a lot of things, and I do not want to ever give up my own real books, but I can think of a few situations where ebooks have some value and I would love to be able to give the regulator my money in exchange for ebooks you have available.

Seth Vidal

Indiependent Books said...

Loved this article.

I realize e-readers have their place and that many people swear by them. But for myself, I like paper books.

Not sure about calling them r-books since the books in digital formats are still books, but I get what the article is saying.

At our store we gift wrap all our books free of charge. We do this so when our customers receive them it feels like a gift. Like something they should cherish and be excited about.

Anonymous said...

I absolutely loved this post!

We produce our books in print editions plus ePUB and Kindle formats for those who prefer eReaders.

I love my iPad but find I still prefer reading actual, physical books as opposed to eBooks even on its great display. But it is fantastic for short-form material (e.g., my library of PDF documents) and for casual Internet surfing while comfortably seated in my favorite chair in front of the TV.

Walt Shiel, Publisher
Slipdown Mountain Publications LLC

Beth said...

Kudos for your post. Real books forever!

Shoshana said...

Intriguing! Where do I line up?

Chuck (Indie bookseller) said...

@skvidal re: ordering ebooks from Regulator
You can download ebooks from Regulator's website (or any Indiebound affiliated bookstore). Search for a title and then look at the top of the page for the 'ebook' tab. Pay attention to the format listed for each title to make sure you are downloading the correct one. The Apple iPad, Sony eReader, and B&N Nook all use open source formats (unlike the Kindle); iPhone format for the iPad, and Adobe Digital Editions format for Sony eReader and Nook. Eat Sleep and Read.