If you can’t beat them, Join them: A newspaper embracing digital media.

Thoughts By 8 years ago

e-books are bigger and more popular than I previously thought.

‘For every 100 ink-and-paper books Amazon sells, 48 digital editions are bought for reading on Kindles.’ (The Age)

And now Amazon has created a version of Kindle that can be used internationally.

“Australia, here we come,” thinks Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, as he gushes about how much positive feedback he has been getting from newly converted Kindle users.

Marieke Hardy: The author of The Age's first m-book

Marieke Hardy: The author of The Age's first m-book

So the Age have pricked up their ears and in a spirit of forward thinking and moving with the times have offered its readers an m-book. Written by Marieke Hardy, a Triple-J presenter and writer, the m-book is a 20-episode work of fiction that will be sent out to mobile phones over the space of 4 weeks. After subscribing to The Age TextTales with Marieke Hardy, you will be sent a message every week day which contains a link to a mobile site where each installment of the text will be found. The book is available from today onwards, all you need is an internet capable mobile, eyes which do not tire easily and a short attention span.

To support this move The Age cites an example from Japan, where people are snapping up e-books that are downloaded to phones and read in 70 word installments. 70 words? For arguments sake, lets say an average word is 6 characters long. So these e-book installments would hold 420 characters…3 tweets. I don’t know about you but 3 tweets worth of book wouldn’t stretch very far for me. My bus ride to work is 30 minutes long! Why not just take a Popular Penguin? No wonder so many school children have such limited attention spans. Although this may not be a problem if the future of books is held in 70 word installments.

I am impressed though, that The Age are the first to admit that m-books, e-books, e-readers and all other manner of digital print are not in any way close to conquering ink and paper any time soon. There is a market for both, which I have already suggested in my previous blog. Thankfully, curling up with a good book is still possible, if not favoured, as Jane Sullivan is happy to point out.