Just before Christmas, Tom Sheehan forwarded this article from the New York Times about the new popularity of e-books. I didn't get a chance to publish it then, so here it is. -Editor Could book lovers finally be willing to switch from paper to pixels?
For a decade, consumers mostly ignored electronic book devices, which were often hard to use and offered few popular items to read. But this year, in part because of the popularity of Amazon.comís wireless Kindle device, the e-book has started to take hold.
The $359 Kindle, which is slim, white and about the size of a trade paperback, was introduced a year ago. Although Amazon will not disclose sales figures, the Kindle has at least lived up to its name by creating broad interest in electronic books. Now it is out of stock and unavailable until February. Analysts credit Oprah Winfrey, who praised the Kindle on her show in October, and blame Amazon for poor holiday planning.
The shortage is providing an opening for Sony, which embarked on an intense publicity campaign for its Reader device during the gift-buying season. The stepped-up competition may represent a coming of age for the entire idea of reading longer texts on a portable digital device.
ďThe perception is that e-books have been around for 10 years and havenít done anything,Ē said Steve Haber, president of Sonyís digital reading division. ďBut itís happening now. This is really starting to take off.Ē
Sonyís efforts have been overshadowed by Amazonís. But this month it began a promotional blitz in airports, train stations and bookstores, with the ambitious goal of personally demonstrating the Reader to two million people by the end of the year.
The companyís latest model, the Reader 700, is a $400 device with a reading light and a touch screen that allows users to annotate what they are reading. Mr. Haber said Sonyís sales had tripled this holiday season over last, in part because the device is now available in the Target, Borders and Samís Club chains. He said Sony had sold more than 300,000 devices since the debut of the original Reader in 2006.
To read the complete article, see: Turning Page, E-Books Start to Take Hold (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/24/technology/24kindle.html?
Wayne Homren, Editor
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