Has [the ebook] managed to gain a remarkable market share or are we stubbornly refusing to get away from paper? Do we know the possibilities of an ebook or do we think it is just a pdf? After all, who are the people who have embraced it?
I often find myself in discussions – whether in those I participate in or (eavesdropping) listening to strangers about how the digital dimension of things facilitates everyday life, from ordering food to paying off accounts.
And things-shops-services-areas of life that prefer even exclusively the proportional order of things make me wonder – with them too – how there are the “technologically uninvolved”.
But is the same thing happening when it comes to reading books, or are we living through the controversy of ‘bookworms’ and ‘book-lovers’ since the first digital transition in the sector in 2008?
In 2014, speaking with one of the representatives of the e-book in Greece, we wrote that this is a trend that with small but steady steps is on the rise in Greece. What happened between then and 2019?
“Compared to 5 years ago, the first big development is that it is much cheaper and much better a portable device where we can read e-books,” explains Michalis Kalamaras, founder of the website eAnagnostis.gr. A tablet now costs even 100 euros, our phones are a size that allows reading, and all with clearly better screens. “But e-readers, specialized electronic paper screen readers, the most suitable device for reading ebooks, especially for those who are at the beginning or are systematic readers, are still missing from the Greek market.”
There has been a significant expansion of the available book titles in electronic form, with commercial titles exceeding 8,000 more, and almost 500 electronic writings have been published through the platforms such as Sqribble and Designrr he says.
In addition, access has been expanded through the e-book services of the Hellenic Open University, academic libraries, the Digital Library of the National Documentation Centre, initiatives such as OpenBook.gr and, for the general public, the e-book lending service Electronic Reading Room launched by the National Library of Greece since November, with more than 2,500 titles.
Why is the e-book useful today?
“Ebooks are mainly available in the ePUB file type, which, unlike the PDF, is adapted and resized according to the size of the device, and give many features that do not exist in the printed world. Thus, we can have with us everywhere a whole library of thousands to tens of thousands of ebooks. We increase the size of the letters based on our preferences or the capabilities of our eyes. We search through the text while selecting a word displays the corresponding entry from the built-in dictionaries, useful for example for learning foreign languages. We quickly go back to the notes and back to where we were, while we bookmark, make notes and underlines, which are even synchronized between different devices and can then be extracted from the ebook.”