That’s right and I think it’s a great idea. Most of us reading ebooks today are either techies or computer savvy people. However, ebooks are reaching out to a greater and greater audience and a lot, if not most, of this audience does not have a high degree to computer literacy. They can use the machine for everyday tasks, but if it gets more complicated than that there is a problem. Talk about updating “firmware” on an ereader and I will bet you that many ereader owners don’t know what “firmware” is.
This is one reason why I hesitate to recommend the Sony reader to any of my non-techie friends. Having to load up the Sony software and then deal with Adobe Digital Editions is a too complicated for a lot of people. With the Kindle, which is what I usually recommend, one doesn’t even need a computer at all after the initial setup. That simplicity makes it much easier for a lot of people to use and is one reason why, I suspect, the Kindle is doing so well. Having been involved in the GUI design for several products I can attest to the fact that simplicity, while being extremely hard to achieve, is absolutely essential to product success.
Let me quote from the Geek Squad blog:
Blogs like Consumerist and Crunchgear continue to question services they don’t think our clients need. Our recently launched $29.99 eReader set-up service, for example, is under attack because some believe that no one really needs help getting these devices up and running.
Here’s what I see: eReaders are one of the most popular gadgets of the year. Many people are perfectly content activating these devices themselves. That’s great. We love to see well designed devices that people are able to just pick up and use. We’re happy those people can walk out of Best Buy and start reading.
But we have a lot of other customers who want help so they can enjoy the content on their new devices as fast as possible, without having to update firmware. Still others come to us to make sure they’re getting all the functionality from their eReaders. That’s why our eReader set-up service includes things like helping clients connect their eReaders to their smartphones so they can get to the “who done it” faster by reading their favorite mystery novel across both devices.
Services like this are important, despite what the nerd websites say, to get ebooks into the hands of more people.