Where’s the eBook in this picture?

What’s missing from the above photo?

That’s the question I asked myself during my week in Mexico at the start of January. I needed to get away from the cold and snow, as clearly did at least another thousand people at my resort. I lounged by the pool or beach and read and wrote.

I read my books on my Sony Reader. I love my Sony Reader. It’s red. It’s cute. I had 33 books on it – half of which I had not read so I had lots and lots of choice. I finished five books and used up fifty percent of the battery power during the week.


I must have sold another half dozen devices as people stopped and asked what it was (yes, Sony owes me a commission. I have probably sold more devices than any of their salespeople!). Let me repeat, these friendly vacationers  asked what it was.

The world of digital publishing often declares that this is the year of the eBook, and with Amazon’s Kindle launch, it did seem like wider acceptance was a possibility, but as I spent the week among vacationers who were all reading books, lots of hardcovers, I realized that  I was the only person with an eBook reading device. And, lots of people had never even heard of such a thing.  Once I let them touch and feel and experience the wonder of eInk, as  I said, I made a lot of sales.

I’m in the business. As I looked around at the many readers I saw a huge potential market — one we have not even made aware of our product! How do we change that?



  1. I’m convinced that the number one barrier to ebooks is perception. I.e., they may have heard of it, but they believe it’s like reading on a computer. I guess the only way to change it is to send out ebook reading evangelists to change their community of readers.

  2. Malle Vallik

    We need digital Avon ladies! The only way people “get” ebooks is by seeing/reading/toching (in the case of a device). Perhaps some of the device manufacturers need to incentivize early adapters — give a keener who handsells devices to friends coupons to content.

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