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Award-winning Canadian eBook and print author Rita Y. Toews (Prometheus, The Centurion, and The Price of Freedom, among others), convinced the Canadian Parliament to name March 2012 as “Read an eBook Month.”

How did she do that, HDTVexpert asked in mid-February.  “The effort,” Toews said, “was two years in the making.  I researched how to go about it, and then talked to my MP [Member of Parliament].  She was polite but not enthusiastic.

“I then talked to Betty Kasischke, President of EPIC [The Electronic Publishing Industry Coalition], who helped draft a resolution.  Epic had been interested in a similar resolution for the U.S., and they wrote to [President] Obama, who never answered.”  Toews gave the resolution to her MP, who was now enthusiastic and took the prepared resolution to Parliament, where it passed quickly.

HDTVexpert:  Do you think “Read an eBook Month” will encourage additional eBook and eReader sales?

Toews:  It probably won’t have a lot of practical effect.  But it provides an umbrella for events organizations might want to organize and it provides legitimacy.

HDTVexpert:  Do you think eBooks promote reading?

Toews:  Yes.  Young people love them. I have a two year old granddaughter who is fascinated by anything that lights up, and children with autism relate to eReaders and computers better than they do to human beings

HDTVexpert:  From your perspective as both a writer and reader, what makes a good eReader?

Toews:  The perfect eReader is still coming.  Readers need a longer battery life.  I don’t find color important but I can see why some people want it.  The addition of color can make eReaders attractive for comic books, cook books, and other kinds of books that don’t work well with current eReaders.

The concept of flipping through the pages conveniently is very important.  In my reading group, what was holding people back from eReaders was the inability to flip forward and backwards.  When I sent people the KAIST link [see below], they said “Wow!   This is what we’ve been waiting for!”   The combination of the KAIST interface with flexible screens would make a really effective eReader.   Then you could run your fingers along the edge and have the feeling of flipping the pages.  Wouldn’t that be cool?

Toews maintains a well-designed Website, ebookweek.com.  One of her current links is to the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) Institute of Information Convergence smart eBook interface prototype (http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=rVyBwz1-AiE).   The interface really does permit intuitive book-like page flipping in both directions.  One should ask about the hardware, software, and power overheads required to make this excellent interface work.  But Moore’s Law is still working, so it should just be a matter of time before the interface can be implemented in a practical way, if it isn’t already.

Posted by Pete Putman, February 17, 2012 9:16 PM

About Pete Putman

Peter Putman is the president of ROAM Consulting L.L.C. His company provides training, marketing communications, and product testing/development services to manufacturers, dealers, and end-users of displays, display interfaces, and related products.

Pete edits and publishes HDTVexpert.com, a Web blog focused on digital TV, HDTV, and display technologies. He is also a columnist for Pro AV magazine, the leading trade publication for commercial AV systems integrators.