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    Location: Aberystwyth, Wales, United Kingdom

    I am the owner and managing director of Information Automation Limited (IAL), a company that specialises in research, consultancy and training for the information profession. We are particularly interested in all forms of electronic information resources (e-journals, e-books, etc) and I teach a course in electronic publishing at the Department of Information Studies in Aberystwyth. Drilling down still further(!), my interests centre on the quality and evaluation of electronic information, and in the thinking that underpins activities in library and information science.


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    Tuesday, July 03, 2007

    The mobile 'phone/e-book debate

    Many of us who write and talk about the use of e-books see e-book readers such as the Sony Reader or the iRex iLiad as one market with huge potential that is still largely in its infancy (PDAs notwithstanding). At the same time the regular travellers amongst us worry about the amont of kit(and its associated chargers) we are forced to carry - laptops, readers, iPod, mobile phone, etc - and look forward to the day when convergent technologies wrap it all up in one neat (and smallish) box! I wrote of this here when the iPhone was launched as its screen and applications seemed ideal for the e-book market. Now TeleRead has reported that a reader did 'a little testing' and can read the Web versions of e-books that are available online at Manybooks. TeleRead (iPhone works with Manybooks.net, says new phone owner) say:
    But he’ll still use his Palm TX as his favorite e-book reader. Read Brad’s post for details... When/if will Digital Editions work on the iPhone, which already comes with a PDF reader? DE would allow files in the IDPF’s reflowable new format to be read on the iPhone, at least if the DRM were of the Adobe veriety or the files were unencrypted. Alas, DE is Flash-based, and that technology is not (yet) included in the iPhone.
    Meanwhile Michael Hart - possibly one of the earliest e-book advocates, as he founded Project Gutenberg - wrote in the Kennebec Journal (thanks again to TeleRead):
    In many countries, eBooks are like cell phones, just a skip over one technology to another and for those who prefer to avoid the expense of hardware. Only a small percentage of the world population can afford books the way we do, or can afford land line telephones. By end of the year, half of the potential world market will have a working cell phone, while the majority of the world will still never have made a land line phone call. It is going to be a similar story with paper books vs. eBooks.
    Especially if you can read e-books on a cell phone (mobile phone).

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