Electronic books have been getting a lot of press in the past few weeks, what with the release of the Kindle 2 recently semi-announced and a host of competitors gearing up for a battle royale. Still, no one can really explain why you would want to pay $400 for something no smaller, no lighter, and no easier to read than a paperback.
This was the piece that started the recent flurry of articles about e-books. Beginning with the question, “Could book lovers finally be willing to switch from paper to pixels?” the authors survey the e-book landscape with an eager eye. Some interesting stats include: e-books account for less than 1% of total book sales; and the devices are most popular among the 55- to 64-year old age group (perhaps e-books are the new large print?)
Wired’s gadget blog gets deep into the specs of the Kindle 2. The piece also does a good job of laying out the e-book reader’s prospects in the heartland, which are heavily linked to Oprah’s endorsement of the gadget last October.
MediaBistro’s publishing blog, GalleyCat, wonders whether the rumored big screen (7 to 9 inch) iPod Touch will kill the Kindle and other ebooks on the market. Current iPod and iPhone users can read books using software like Stanza and ScrollMotion, but the screen is seen as too small to really curl up with.
This somewhat wonky piece in the NYT’s Business section does some fancy math to speculate how much Amazon.com’s shareholders care about the Kindle. Turns out they care a lot. The authors of the piece think that Amazon is banking on an iPod-esque success for the Kindle, in which case they would control the e-book market, the same way iTunes dominates the download market.