Written by: Michael Hughes
At Soutron Global, we were fascinated by a recent comment made by the CEO of one of the world’s biggest publishers, Arnaud Nourry, of Hachette Livre.

In an interview about Hachette’s future in India, which also touched on digital publishing, Mr. Nourry described the eBook as “a stupid product”. The context of his comment is interesting, in that he is of the view that publishers have “not done a great job going digital” and that eBooks are “exactly the same as print, except it’s electronic”. There is no creativity, no enhancement, no real digital experience”.

 

Thoughts from a Medical Professional

We spoke with one of our colleagues from a medical library, who described the state of eBooks generally as “disappointing”. The librarian went on to say that eBooks “have the potential to provide a rich multimedia experience to enhance the delivery of the message. For example, a book on cardiology [that] not only describ[es] heart murmurs but allow[s] you to hear them”. This potential seems not to have been realized though. The librarian concluded “sadly” that it is the case that “publishers, by and large, recreate a physical book in electronic form”.

 

An Alternate View

An alternate industry contact we spoke with had another view. Not so much opposing, but different. This education consultant loves eBooks as they are. His e-reader of choice allows him to “simply enjoy a good book!” Traveling frequently means he can carry any number of books “without filling a suitcase with paperbacks”. For him, the whole point of an eBook reader is “to get away from everything else and enjoy a good book”. He even went so far as to describe the eBook reader as his go-to “cannot-do-without piece of technology”.

So, differing views, expectations and requirements seems to shape how people look at eBooks. One size does not fit all. Could it?

What are your views, needs, and experiences on this topic?! Feel free to join the debate.