Feeds

What kind of LOSER sits in front of a PC...

...to read a book?

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Tablets don't count

Nor do we get proper - ie. widely sold and fully supported - access to kit that Americans have been toying with for ages, such as the Nooks, BeBooks or even the Android-based Amazon Fire.

Back wandering through the aisles at the London Book Fair, the only new e-book readers I could find in this world gathering of the publishing industry were a prototype Pyrus on the TrekStor stand and a row of tentative but unappealingly chunky crap from a Chinese manufacturer looking for European distributors. Expect to see these stocked in Maplin at some point.

Something for the Weekend, Sir?

The only other e-readers on show were two Kindles on the Amazon stand - literally; they only had two actual devices - and the current Kobos on the Kobo stand. There was also an over-enthusiastic man on an otherwise creepily vacant Nokia stand who tried to convince himself that his company wasn't on the verge of financial collapse by showing me how the forthcoming Lumia 900 smartphone will download my books, organise my photos, extend my life expectancy and suck my cock.

As usual, I ended up arguing with everyone about encrypted e-book copy protection - more accurately described as "built-in obsolescence" - the inability to lend e-books to friends and family, and the requirement for a PC and USB cable simply in order to import certain books onto an e-reader even if it has it own Wi-Fi or 3G connection.

For some reason, the rep on the Kobo stand didn't like it when I asked where my encrypted books will go if his company goes tits up in a few years from now. I can understand why people never like it when I ask what will happen if they go out of business, but it annoys me that they haven't considered the possibility.

Their response is always: "Everything will be fine, don't worry your pretty little head about it", which is total bunkum because what they're really thinking is: "I won't care because I'll be unemployed/dead/in the Cayman Islands with your money."

Homer Simpson reading on a tablet

Source: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

What I was looking for at the London Book Fair was a competitor to Amazon Kindles. While Amazon's enormous success in retail has given it the financial clout to develop a near-perfect e-book ownership experience - if you ignore the dopey .MOBI file format - it is surely not beyond the capacity of smaller organisations to do something similar. It might have been rocket science when Amazon first devised the Kindle devices and Kindle store, but today it's more like basic maths: eReader + Wi-Fi + cloud.

I appreciate that having more choice doesn't mean those choices will be better – as indeed we discovered with the privatisation of British railways and we will presently discover when the government's NHS reforms settle in – I don't enjoy being spoilt for lack of choice. ®

Alistair DabbsAlistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling IT journalism, editorial training and digital publishing. He won't tell you which eBook reader device he owns but he uses it primarily to feed his pulp sci-fi addiction. Print books are nice too: his dad owns a couple of first-edition John Carter of Mars books in their original dust-jackets. Heh.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Don't wait for that big iPad, order a NEXUS 9 instead, industry little bird says
Google said to debut next big slab, Android L ahead of Apple event
Netscape Navigator - the browser that started it all - turns 20
It was 20 years ago today, Marc Andreeesen taught the band to play
A drone of one's own: Reg buyers' guide for UAV fanciers
Hardware: Check. Software: Huh? Licence: Licence...?
Jaguar Sportbrake: The chicken tikka masala of van-sized posh cars
Indian-owned Jag's latest offering curries favour with us
The Apple launch AS IT HAPPENED: Totally SERIOUS coverage, not for haters
Fandroids, Windows Phone fringe-oids – you wouldn't understand
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
Here's your chance to buy an ancient, working APPLE ONE
Warning: Likely to cost a lot even for a Mac
Xiaomi boss snaps back at Jony Ive's iPhone rival 'theft' swipe
I'll have a handset delivered. Judge us after you try us...
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.