Wednesday, October 14, 2009

e-Readers for All

The e-Reader market is heating up, just in time for Christmas. Amazon is expanding features and bringing the Kindle down the price curve. Today came word of the Barnes and Noble e-Reader with two screens, an e-ink screen for reading and a small LCD touch screen for interactivity.

Also today I caught up with the "This Week in Tech" podcast from last weekend where they talked about the real killer features of the Kindle - wireless download and almost unlimited capacity. You can buy as many books as you want any time you want, which leads to buying many more books than you would otherwise buy. Imagine the scene, at dinner with your friends, you discuss books that you have recently read, and bam you buy the books they recommend there and then. In fact there was even a cry in the podcast "Friends don't let friends use a Kindle while drunk" (for fear that the judgmentally impaired friend may buy too many books).

When the original Kindle came out there was a tremendous outcry against it with people complaining of gadgets destroying their book reading experience and authors expecting to have their livelihood destroyed just as the music industry has been laid waste. Hint, musicians are doing just as well as they have always done, it is the music moguls with their "by the way, which one is Pink?" who have been laid waste. The Kindle stimulates the publishing industry and makes it much easier to buy books, leading to more sales where author gets a larger slice of the pie.

Competition is good, particularly for the consumer. The e-Reader needs another generation or so to iron out the kinks and bring the price down to the mass market levels. I am waiting for the $149 price point (iPod Nano) which should come by next Christmas if not sooner.

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