E-books Still A Solution In Search Of A Problem
from the value-added? dept
Amazon seems to be trying to address that issue by tacking on some other features, most notably the ability to load up content from a variety of newspapers. But reading a newspaper is a much different experience than reading a book. People flip through newspapers a lot faster than they flip through books, and because of the way electrophoretic displays work, that's likely to run down their batteries pretty quickly. Most of Amazon's target customers likely already have a laptop and/or a smartphone, either of which offer color, a more responsive display, and more powerful browsing software. It seems more likely that people would just read the day's news on one of those devices and leave the e-book reader at home.
The fundamental issue here is that people don't adopt new technologies — especially ones that cost hundreds of dollars — unless they provide compelling advantages over the products already on the market. Merely achieving parity with paper books (and it's not clear they've even achieved that) isn't going to cut it, because people don't like to change their established routine. For e-books to catch on, then, they have to be better than paper in a really compelling way. So far, nobody has figured out how to make e-books do something really useful that they can't do with the paper books and laptops they already have.