The future?

I want to give people money and they refuse to take it. In fact they are actively making it harder for me to give it to them. Sound insane? Well, welcome to a large media industry waking up to the digital age.

I am a curious mix of old school and high tech. I milk a cow by hand, but also love my iPhone and use it for a whole bunch of things (as opposed to 95% of iPhone users, who use phone, web, photos and music. Maybe a few games.) Books had always been firmly in the old school camp, I love the feel of them, they way you can look at my bookshelves and tell which books I love by the level of abuse they have been subjected to. Plus all the normal things like reading in the bath (essential) and lending to other people.

The iPad triggered an interest in ebook readers and after having a look at the Kindle app on Monster Yuppy's iPad I thought I'd download the kindle app onto my iPhone in anticipation of us getting ipads for work. I was pleasantly surprised by the experience. Once I'd read a few paragraphs and was into the story, I completely forgot about the medium. All I was interested in was the book, the plot and the characters were far more important than whether I was holding paper or electronics.

When I did notice the difference was later that day in a waiting room, killing time before an appointment. Instead of pulling up twitter or playing a mind dulling game, I pulled up the kindle app and was away, back in the story. I'd never remember to take my book with me.

Ok. Techy bloke likes a piece of tech. No great story there. But wait, here comes Techy blokes slightly angrier twin, Ranty bloke. You see amazon, or perhaps more accurately the publishing industry, want to make it very hard for me to buy books. First of all I opened my amazon account and went to the kindle store. And was amazed as I put in author after author, title after title and got back nothing. I'm pretty sure unless it's Dan Brown or John Grisham, it's not in the Oz kindle store.

So, as all good tech blokes do, I consulted twitter on how to set up a US amazon account. Easily done and a whole new, slightly bigger world opened up. I mean a few of the books I was chasing were available. Which I bought, obviously, to give the app a spin. But what I was hoping for was a nice swim in Lake Nostalgia. A bit of the Three Investigators or The Hardy Boys. Even a bit of Blyton's Famous Five for a giggle.

None of the back catalogue of my youth is there and I think that publishers are missing a great niche market here. Fair enough, hold back the new books till they've had a run in print first. I can understand that. However in the not too distant future devices like the iPad will be common place. Hell at the way it's selling in the very close future. I can easily download a song or TV show or movie that I have a sudden urge to buy. Compare that to the effort I'd have to go to on a rainy Sunday to go and buy a copy of a Three Investigators novel. There would be no copies in print, so I'd probably have to trawl the second hand shops. Say a whole day to maybe, just maybe find a book .... Oh look season two of Arrested Development on iTunes, let's watch that instead.

I know that the publishers are afeared that once they let the digital genie out of the bottle that there is no turning back. But consider this. I lend any book I own to anyone who wants to read them. Make all those back catalogue books say, three bucks and people wouldn't need to lend books as much. You already sell a whole bunch at that price point already. And it's just a matter of time before someone invents an easy way to digitize a book and if there is no digital copy for people to purchase, they will take the illegal copy available.

So while you still can, make it easier for me to give you my money please.


Lantanaland From My iPhone