Back in the before times when ebooks began, I never heard anyone discussing ebooks with an intent to form a new entertainment medium. After all, we had movies and games for a more active or interactive experience. Ebooks were conceived as a way to meet reader and author needs by facilitating the process of publishing and reading. While there have been efforts to add multimedia aspects to ebooks, some readers have found this distracting. At the risk of stating the obvious, most readers are drawn to books over other entertainment media because they simply want to read words.
People love to read books. Ebook readers love the portability of having those books in a device—often their phone—which they can carry anywhere. Ebooks don’t waste paper. Ebooks are more accessible to readers with vision or processing issues by enabling them to read at whatever size or font they’re most comfortable with, or even to have books read to them. Ebook stores have unlimited shelf space, so readers can find the exact book they might want in an instant without having to go to a physical bookstore and special order it. And, while it can be a two-edged sword, there are more of them. This has opened the floodgates of creativity and its distribution, shifting the power of curating reading choices from publishers to readers. In this new, free marketplace, readers no longer have to feel like they’ve gone to a restaurant to make a meal of what someone else ordered for them. This must be disconcerting for publishers.