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eBooks for the Holidays

November 25, 2010

I’ve been working in the ebook business for over ten years now. It might be hard for you to imagine that ebooks have even been around for that long because they have only started becoming more mainstream over the past couple years.

For a long time, ebooks were left out of the holiday gift-giving season because you just couldn’t very easily give an ebook as a gift. For one thing, ebooks are digital software that is purchased and downloaded immediately, so an ebook isn’t really something you can hand to a person as a gift. Another problem is the ever-present hassle of DRM, making it so that you can’t download an ebook and then give it to someone else on a burned CD, for example. Some websites might have allowed you to buy a gift certificate for someone else, but that was about the extent of your ebook gift-giving options.

Physical ebook readers are another type of product entirely, and they are gift-able. eBook readers have always been able to be given as gifts, just like any other electronic device, but in the past they were so sparsely used that it was hard to find good content for them and most people probably wouldn’t have even know what it was they were getting. I have to give Amazon their due credit in making the Kindle a household name. Now that they’ve done that, most everyone knows what an ebook reader is. And even better than that, there is now plenty of competition, like the Nook from B&N, the Sony Reader, the Kobo, and others.

So I was excited to see that Kobo sent out a press release announcing that they are releasing Kobo devices with new pre-installed ebook bundles. Up until now any new Kobo has come with a package of 100 free ebooks, which I have always felt was a great move on their part. Even if they are mostly classic titles, the idea of getting 100 free books is just very appealing. Now Kobo has expanded on that and made an offer that’s perfect for Black Friday and holiday shopping.

Here is a snippet from the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Kobo, a global eReading service with more than 2.2 million popular and bestselling books, newspapers and magazines, today announced new value-priced Kobo eReader bundles just in time for the holiday season.

“The Kobo eReader comes in a variety of colors and is already an amazing gift for the traveler, the constant reader and the hard to buy for on your holiday list. Combined with our great new eBook bundles, Kobo is the perfect gift to get your loved ones.”

Starting today, customers can purchase a new Kobo Wireless eReader pre-loaded with any one of five exclusive eBook bundles at http://www.koboereader.com. Customers can save up to $30 and give the perfect gift for readers – an eReader already loaded with a bundle of hot new books, ready to start reading right out of the box. (read the rest)

Everything is becoming digital – photos, video, your TV connection, and now your newspapers, books, and magazines. I’ve been saying for ten years that the digitization of the written word was the way of the future, and I don’t think anybody would have denied it.

Now that ebook companies are jumping into the Black Friday game, it makes me feel like the technology of ebooks has been truly accepted. If it’s being re-packaged and discounted to sell, sell, sell for Christmas, it’s gotta be part of the American culture, right? All in all, I am thrilled to see ebooks and ebook readers start to find their place in the world of books, and in the greater world of commerce.

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