Readings ebook platform sparks debate

While I’m burning the midnight oil and pondering all things ebook-related, there was a huge piece of ebook news from Down Under today. The small-but-growing Readings bookstore chain – in conjunction with SPUNC, the small press network – launched their ebook platform to much fanfare … and later in the day, grumbles from ebook veterans who were perturbed by the system, which appears to be web browser based and not friendly to e-ink readers like the Kindle.

I haven’t tried the system myself, but net savvy Aussie horror writer Benjamin Solah is all over it and didn’t like what he found. From what he says, I understand his frustration.

In counterpoint, Readings has stated its rationale behind the browser system.

It should be fascinating to see how the whole thing turns out!



  1. Stupid things make me annoyed. This seems very stupid to me.

  2. I tested the website uploading a copy of Clememtine and The Smoke Dragon, the interface is light -no annotation features, or ability to change font size or display but I imagine these things could come in time. I also tested just how well the book cache’s. I was able to sever my connection to the internet and page backward and forward through Clementine (up to chapter 11, could have gone further)and then switch to The Smoke dragon by hitting the browser back button.

    But that’s all well and good, I don’t read books on my laptop though. So to experience similar quality reading to that offered by my Sony PRS 505 I have to purchase an $800 ipad (the cheapest I have found with 3G connection – I live rurally) though I suppose I could purchase a $200 mobile router and use a wifi version or alternatively try and find a cheap ipad clone that I can determine will give me a good reading experience. Then comes extra internet charges of course.

    I thin they are heading in the right direction for the future of books. Joe Pearson(sp?)talked about possibilities of lending your books or indeed selling them secondhand through this technology.

    All of which is great but at the moment I can’t support local publishers that have gone with this system because the buy in is too great.

    I think they should have gone with a two tiered approach which allows you those of us with ereaders to purchase and download the files with an incentive to switch to the no download version in the future.

    I think that if they want to facilitate take up of the system there needs to by more information about the best devices to use and demonstrations of the devices in stores – not just an assumption the most people will own an ipad.