Wednesday, November 14, 2007
E-book Readers Can't Stand AloneAmazon and Sony are trying to rekindle interest in e-books and digital readers with new hardware. Sony's PRS-505 Portable Reader System and the Amazon Kindle -- which is likely coming out next week -- are the latest attempts to popularize electronic books.
After two decades of trying, the market has said that paying a few hundred bucks to read a book digitally isn't a worthwhile investment for most people. Printed books are relatively cheap, more tactile to interact with, and if you drop or lose one, it only sets you back $25 or less.
Digital book readers need to be multifunction, and they should change the marketing strategy to focus on the environmental benefits. How much time per day does the average person spend reading a book? Less than one hour? But combining video and news reading would make these devices much more useful.
A basic device should be able to read e-mail, surf the web, display PDFs (including newspapers and magazines), read formatted books and play video. This is a supercharged handheld computer with built in wireless. Amazon seems to be heading in that direction, and offering access to formatted versions of content from say, the Wall Street Journal, Sports Illustrated and Newsweek, would make the device a must have for commuters and business travels. By pre-loading the content through the wireless connection and an RSS feed, you've got your morning papers ready for the train to work, and the latest thriller to accompany you on the way home or at the airport.
E-book device makers should also pitch saving trees to the small group of avid readers. Being green is hip, and digital bits are about as recyclable as it gets.
By John Gartner at 09:56 AM | Comments (1)