Who Else But The Newspapers Would Bank On eBooks?
from the eBooks-again dept
In a bid to stem their rapid decline, newspapers are hoping that eBooks will somehow offer them salvation. Publishers are touting new devices that will allow users to download the paper’s contents, and then read it like they would a newspaper. Though every previous incarnation of the e-book has been met with failure, publishers hope that new generations, which are lighter, have better displays, and wireless capabilities, will finally prove popular with users. Suppose that users do find it worthwhile to shell out $400 for one of the new devices, and new technology makes reading on a digital screen as easy and comfortable as reading paper, will this actually help newspapers overcome their problems? The scenario assumes that users will actually use the devices to read the newspaper. Considering the poor job that papers have done in tailoring their product for the internet, why would the e-book market develop differently? The problem isn’t that people don’t want or need the content of newspapers (we’re proving that today, by linking to the New York Times for the second time), but that simply pushing out editions either physically or by digital download isn’t how people want to consume their news. The internet is allowing people to share, comment on, and redistribute the news as they please. Trying to stuff the old business model onto a new format is almost certainly bound for failure.