Tuesday Discussion Items

Put that on your wedding registry! First, in shopping for a new apartment, my wife and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. As I arrived before she did, I was wandering around the store when I saw an e-reader (pictured right) sitting on the shelf near the door. Yes, an e-reader in BB&B. A color one with a touch screen for under $200, at that. Barnes & Noble is the content provider, but from the options, it seems a lot like a Kindle. I couldn’t actually hold one since the display was quite fixed and non-interactive, but it really made me do a double take. Is it any good? I have no clue. But it’s being sold on the shelf of a store that does not come to mind when you think books. This really reinforces the my notion that, within five years, a company like Amazon will throw in a Kindle for free when you order five or more books.

(This is something that was discussed at a dinner I attended at ALA Annual; it’s raised some eyebrows when I said that I thought they would be giving them away within five years. I think this is proof positive it is headed that way, but I still have four years and eleven months to go.)

Tonight, I also saw a touch screen mp3 player on sale for under $100 at a CVS. That’s certainly a statement for market penetration.

Second, here are a couple of items for people to discuss:

Less than three weeks after the Times paywall went up, data shows a massive decline in web traffic.

Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months.

Read either or both stories and leave a comment please. What do these stories mean?

What does the success or failure of the Times online subscription mean for the internet? Does this herald a new pay age for content? What would news piracy look like? And what does the sale of e-books outpacing hardcover books really mean? Is the digital divide widening? Will other vendors appear on the e-book marketplace for libraries?

Let’s hear it!

3 thoughts on “Tuesday Discussion Items

  1. I think the success of Kindle editions in relation to hardbacks has more to do with the price scaling of newly-released books. Most people who are standing in a bookstore, looking for a copy of a book that’s been out for a while, are going to grab the mass-market paperback edition, not a hardcover copy that’s two or three times the price.

    But, if you’re someone who likes to read the new releases while they’re still hot, the e-version makes financial sense (if you’ve already shelled out for the reading device, of course). A Kindle book is usually significantly cheaper than the hardcover edition of the same book, which is all that’s available in print. There’s also the instant-delivery factor for people who would otherwise line up at B&N at midnight (or 6 AM) for a big release.

    If you’re not into reading brand-new material, however, I think you’re still more likely to grab an old-fashioned paperback.

    • True. There is a convenience to the Kindle and other ereaders that make back the price in the device over time as you buy more and more books at the discounted Kindle or iBooks rate. Could this be a renaissance for reading? As people’s money goes further with the ebook editions, will people buy more books?

  2. Pingback: HotStuff 2.0 » Blog Archive » Word of the Day: “hardcovers”

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