Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Books on Sticks?

We have seen the Barbie on a stick, we have seen the podcast on a stick so why not an ebook on a stick? Why not go one better and have a browser reader embedded on the stick which would give you device independence and also consistency of presentation? So you buy a stick with content and it becomes the ebook you share between devices, friends whatever and what you can and can’t do is dictated by a program that effectively lives of the stick. You could even be allowed to override the book with another.

How many books could you store on a stick? You could even have personalised or branded sticks. They could be sold online or through existing channels?
So before all the technocrats blast my logic the 64 dollar question is whether it would it have an appeal to the consumer?

Our digital friend Bill McCoy at Adobe pointed out an interesting piece from SanDisk the makers of SD memory cards we all use in our digital cameras, are to offer pre-loaded micro SD cards for mobiles.

Obviously one thinks about pre loaded MP3 music that could potentially play on any music enabled phone. But why not apply the same logic to other media? You simply slot the tiny card into the little slot on the side of your phone and you have potentially a huge mobile library that is device and network independent. It is reported that 770 million phones were shipped this year with micro SD slots and an additional 900 million are planned for next year. SD an 8 gigabyte micro SD card, and a 16 gigabyte card is coming.

As the old saying says, ‘there are many ways to skin a rabbit’. Sorry we didn’t mean the Nabaztag Rabbit.


Ronda said...

With lower and lower costs for sd memory cards, entire audio books are now being sold on a single sd card. Audio books on sd cards using the popular mp3 file format, can be listened to on a wide variety of players. By using sd cards, books can easily be swapped in an MP3 player (without the need to learn how to transfer files). Even those who are not computer savvy can swap audio books on these mp3 players.

In addition to making it easier to change books, using a standard mp3 file format opens the way to shop around for the best mp3 player or for an inexpensive player. Selecting a table top player would allow audio books to be shared by a group of people in something like an audio book club. There are many ways and many players available for audio books using an mp3 file format.

Thanks to the hard work of volunteers at there are over one thousand audio books freely available for downloading (in standard mp3 file formats). All of these audio books are read by human readers (not computers).

Unfortunately many people are not able to download these books. They may not have access to the internet, or may be intimidated by the technology. Others have technical issues trying to unzip and transfer files to a player or to an sd card. These difficulties are overcome by companies now offering public domain audio books on sd cards.

One problem with listening to audio books in an mp3 format is from book marking (or the lack of book marking). Some mp3 players have the ability to book mark, but the technology is often difficult to use, if it exists at all. Book marking is important because without it a person could be listening to a 45 minute chapter in a book and 30 minutes into the book take a phone call which would cause the mp3 player to shut itself off. Without book marking the person would have to re-listen to the entire chapter.

There is a solution. With ATSP technology (used by EZBooks at the need for book marking is eliminated. This allows a person to use even the most inexpensive player (some can be found for less than $20) to play to an audio book and enjoy the experience, even if the player does not support book marking.

Technology does not have to be complicated. Everyone can now enjoy listening to a classic book on an sd card without knowing anything about computers or how to transfer files. From people in assisted living facilities to young people wanting to hear a bed time story, audio books on sd cards are providing an easy way for technology to improve our quality of life.

Anonymous said...

I took a look at the site and was impressed. I think an audio books on a stick or sd card brings the technology to folks who are intimidated by transferring files to an ipod or other mp3 player.

Great idea!!