Friday, September 25, 2009

The Kindle part 8 - The Future of Digital Readers

The Kindle is an electronic book reader produced by Amazon.

No! The series isn't over yet.  I wish it was but I have a few more pots to tip over.  Following closely on the heels of my middle-of-the-road, everybody wins Part 7 "gem" I bring you the other side of the coin:

Electronic books aren't going anywhere.

Question: Do you have any idea how much just the US spends on books?  I don't, but it is a lot.  Ok.  Fine.  I will actually use some of my powers and do a spot of research.  (No one said this was going to involve research.)

Answer: $25 billion in net sales of books by US Publishers in 2007 (according to statistics collected and presented by the Association of American Publishers)

Rest assured the marketing guys and gals at Amazon and Sony have a clear idea as to the size of the money pot.  As long as capitalism is singing loud and strong a commodity market with that kind of market capacity is going to see epic battle after epic battle.

So...Supply and Demand.  That's it, honestly.  Everything about this industry is going to play into that single bullet point.  There is a demand because the device is:

  •     Fast,
  •     Convenient,
  •     Sexy,
  •     and Slick.

What is the difference between Sexy and Slick? Sexy - other people notice it and you notice them noticing.  Slick - the damn thing works and works well.

All of that demand rolls right around to supply.  The consumer mouth is open wide and the corporate shovels are tossing in coal as fast as they can.

Do you remember your first mp3?  I do not.  The concept of digital music is so drowned in the sea of ubiquity I cannot pull memories from its murky depths.  We are becoming anesthetized to the concept of digital print.  And, there are more entrants to the field than Amazon and Sony.  Say hello to the Royal Phillips Electronics' e-reader:

The iRex DR800SG

This contender is backed by Best Buy, Verizon, and Barnes & Noble.  It supports the open e-pub format (ala Google Books), it has a touch screen and some other crazy competitive features sure to start the next round of ebook wars.  Now we have three major players in a multi-billion dollar market.  Competition breeds choice and innovation.  This is capitalism, this is consumerism, this is a winning battleground for the customer.  E-books are here to stay.

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About Me

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Geek - Gamer - Librarian - Writer. Only awesome at one of those things at a time, unfortunately.

About Fading Interest

After writing op-eds and travelogues for several years, after finishing a few books, and after failing to get the ball rolling with project after project I stumbled into an idea that might just hold my interest long enough to enjoy some level of satisfaction with my writing.