Has the e-book finally arrived?

<p><a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/blogs/49562-a-continental-approach-to-the-d... few months ago I asked where the UK booksellers were who were prepared to experiment with e-books.</a></p>
<p>Well it seems now we have the answer. <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/54968-big-bang-launch-for-e-books.html... is planning a July launch, while Borders is gearing up to sell e-books from its website, which launches in April.</a> Device-makers are also readying a new push: Sony is believed to be planning a third quarter UK launch of its Reader in conjunction with a UK retailer, and Amazon is understood to be planning a 2008 UK launch of its Kindle.</p>
<p>After the 'successful' launch of Amazon.com's Kindle in the US, I have not seen this much buzz about the e-book since the turn of the millennium when <a href="http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2002/04/52015">Microsoft launched its ill-fated, but very glitzy, e-book awards at the Frankfurt Book Fair</a>.</p>
<p><a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/54939-gunn-anyone-can-sell-10-for-a-fi... phrase &quot;bricks and clicks&quot; has even made a reappearance, with both Borders US' supremo George Jones and Blackwell's Vince Gunn using a term I thought had long since been banished</a>.<br />
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Is the buzz at long last justified? Are e-books finally set to take off?</p>
<p>Well, it is not yet clear.</p>
<p>Witness this only yesterday from Hachette UK's head Tim Hely Hutchinson: &quot;<a href="http://www.thebookseller.com/news/54935-hachette-uk-raises-the-bar.html">It will start off with enthusiastic early adopters, but it will be quite a long time before the e-book readers are part of our everyday lives</a>.&quot; Hardly a ringing endorsement. Then there was Penguin's John Makinson in the Observer at the weekend: &quot;<a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/09/pressandpublishing">I don't think any of us in publishing see the e-book as an exciting alternative to the book itself for most readers.</a>&quot; Right oh.</p>
<p>Finally, there is Macmillan's digital supremo Sara Lloyd, writing this over at its Digitalist blog within an otherwise measured piece about digital rights: &quot;.<a href="http://thedigitalist.net/?p=111"> . even if digital at some point in the future became the dominant revenue stream, which most would agree is a pretty long way distant in the consumer market . . .</a>&quot;<br />
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It is hard to see a new model establishing itself if the leaders of three of our biggest houses remain so unconvinced.<br />
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Yet the important difference this time to last <i>is</i> that the big retailers are jostling their way into the e-book future.<br />
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And <i>surely </i>this will make the difference?</p>
<p>(<i>Incidentally, I am going to send a bottle of the passable to the person behind the best comment on this blog, and you can also vote on our online poll on the <a href="http://www.thebookseller.com">home page</a>).</i></p>