Trendwatching: The ebook device race

Like many people, I’m a trendwatcher. I enjoy scanning the landscape and seeing how trends emerge. One that I’ve been watching keenly this past year is the technology device race for the ultimate e-book. Amazon’s Kindle (which launched Nov 16, 2007) started a new race that has really taken off within the last year. And now it seems almost every major viable tech company is working on some top secret (term used loosely, because we all know that leaks and rumors are critical to creating hype around new product launches) project that is tied to this race.

The latest development in this race came yesterday with the news that Microsoft is working on new dual foldable tablet project called “The Courier” (video showing the concept for the courier).

Anyway, as I said above I’m a trendwatcher. And since this latest development I think is worthy of noting, I've also updated the slide deck from one of my recent talks on the trends and the future of libraries and decided to isolate my slides from just this one trend so that I can share them here.

Trend: The Kindle rekindles the flame (and race) for the ultimate digital book

I’m curious to know what other developments you have seen in the ultimate eBook device race? Where are you seeing this trend heading? And, of course, what does it mean to libraries?


kattebelletje said...

I guess libraries ultimately will have to think of ways to get their content on patron's ebook-readers (or tablets). Library as space will probably only be a meeting place or quiet place for reading and studying. Physically going to the library to borrow books will eventually disappear.

Anonymous said...

I've been selling the Sony Reader since it first appeared in the marketplace and I have to say that even before the downturn in the economy, people just weren't rushing out to embrace this technology. Basically, I think it's a TON of $$$$ upfront, to simply read.

Think of it, the Sony Pocket is $200 before you download free or paid for content. The obvious value of a quick trip to one's local library just became more impressive. You can buy a lot of used paperbacks, at your library's book sales, before you get close to that $200. In other words, it's not cost effective...yet.

Where the Sony Reader (the $300 version) will draw attention (and sell) is for all those business people who want the latest financial or business titles and want to be able to jot notes, highlight passages and, more importantly, throw their book collection in their briefcase or piece of luggage. This version will also sell and be popular with students, for the same reasons.

I believe, however, that the bulk of the general public will still be more comfortable with paper and ink reading materials from their libraries (that they've already paid for with their taxes), at least until prices drop on this new technology...!

Unknown said...

I think that in the long run the ebook reader that will 'win the race' will be the one that happens to best support whatever the new 'book' becomes. The new 'books' will be media expressions created to be 'read' in a networked environment that can support the word, the image, the moving image, audio, connectivity etc. For now, ebooks are really just remediated books... they weren't made to fully take advantage of the networked environment ereaders offer them. Yeah, I can listen to the radio on my TV, but, like, why would I?

Its going to be fun to watch, but I think the 'book' part of ereaders will be the most unremarkable bit of evolution when 8 foot tall hairless humans wearing silver bodysuits in the year 2099 look at this race with the benefits of retrospect...

Batarang said...

keys to successful e-reader implementation:

- thin (OLED)
- multi-touch (hope apple doesn't sue me)
- motion detection
- color
- format agnostic (one can dream)
- external storage to variety of media
- web-capable
- foldable/bendable
- price: $99
- books: $5.00 or less
- unlimited note-taking/hi-lighting/bookmarking/internal & external linking of docs/books
- sharing aka cut-n-paste
- text-to-speech (add 5 bucks?)
- community/social-based app (book discussion)
- allows for library subscription model which will probably replace online databases like EBSCOhost
- various statistic-keeping capabilities (word count, time spent

...and lots more, which means it'll probably be a tablet of some kind, which also means that it will probably replace the laptop and be more expensive than $99.