Thursday, October 12, 2006

Trying Again to Make Books Obsolete (David Pogue; NYT)

By DAVID POGUE

“The market for downloadable books will grow by 400 percent in each of the next two years, to over $25 billion by 2008,” predicted the keynote speaker at the 2001 Women’s National Book Association meeting. “Within a few years after the end of this decade, e-books will be the preponderant delivery format for book content.”

Whoops.

The great e-book fantasy burst shortly after that speech, along with the rest of the dot-com bubble. In 2003, Barnes & Noble shut its e-book store, Palm sold its e-book business to a Web site and most people left the whole idea for dead.

Not everybody, however. Some die-hards at Sony still believe that, properly designed, the e-book has a future. Their solution is the Sony Reader, a small, sleek, portable screen that will be introduced this month in some malls, at Borders bookstores and at sonystyle.com for $350. (more...)