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Old 05-09-2007, 06:17 PM   #1
Cybermynd
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Question eBook prices

Somebody please weigh in with an explanation as to why I can wander down to London Drugs or Staples and pick up a device with a 7" colour display that can play videos, images and music and has built in networking and memory card support for $100, while a grayscale ebook that can display text costs $350+...

I guess I'm just confused.

Oh, the item I'm talking about is a digital photo frame. You can't tell me it's because of economies of scale... I just don't think there are that many people buying the things.
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Old 05-09-2007, 06:53 PM   #2
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Hey, Cybermynd, welcome to MobileRead!

Actually, economies of scale are a large part of the deal. Further, it's the displays that make the difference, as the cost of the supporting 'tronix in each case are trivial.

That digital picture doohickey you mention most likely uses a color LCD screen, just like several hundreds, if not thousands of other devices. The planet is lousy (relatively speaking) with foundries cranking such out, and the size differential isn't that big a deal (I believe they make them a set size and then score & break those down to the desired size).

E-Ink displays, however, are really quite new, and (as far as I can tell) there are 2, count 'em two fabs making them in the entire world, solar system, perhaps galaxy for all we know.

That's the gist of it.
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Old 05-09-2007, 09:00 PM   #3
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From reports it seems that $250 of the $350 represents the e-ink screen alone. Assuming normal retail margins of 100% markup, this places the cost to the store at $175 and the cost of the e-ink screen at $125. This leaves $50 for the rest of the electronics, case, assembly, packaging, R&D, transportation, marketing, royalty payments on the included books, other corporate expenses, and profit. This does not count the $50 credit at the Connect Store that has been given with many Readers. (Or the current $150 credit.)
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Old 05-10-2007, 03:55 AM   #4
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lol, I thought the digital picture frame was connected to the wall via a powercord? If that's the case, I'll gladly spend a bit more for the couple weeks that go by before I have to charge my Reader (not to mention it brand, spanking, new tech that few have seen yet; where as LCD's are everywhere).
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Old 05-10-2007, 10:52 AM   #5
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Thumbs up

Hmmmm. Thanks for the comments guys. I guess the one thing that sticks with me is that I think eInk technology was supposed to be super inexpensive. I'm sure that if they start pumping out the stuff we will see commodity pricing on it eventually but I know that initially it was supposed to be super light, super cheap and super good. Whoa - sounds like the marketing department exploded in buzz words... or they stole the bs from Apple marketing...

Kidding!

I guess if the screen IS the biggest part of the equation (and it must be if that new colour eInk-like technology is being introduced at $12K+ for a simple reader) then we can be optimistic that soon enough we will see the $75 reader when the display prices plummet.
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Old 05-10-2007, 11:33 AM   #6
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Yep. PVI is the single-source for e-ink displays. And that means the market pays what PVI charges. E-ink was designed to be easier on the eyes and lower-powered. With the changes in the manufacturing process, we'll probably see some drop in OEM display prices. Of course, were there another major supplier of e-ink displays, we'd probably see far lower prices

Derek

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cybermynd
Hmmmm. Thanks for the comments guys. I guess the one thing that sticks with me is that I think eInk technology was supposed to be super inexpensive. I'm sure that if they start pumping out the stuff we will see commodity pricing on it eventually but I know that initially it was supposed to be super light, super cheap and super good. Whoa - sounds like the marketing department exploded in buzz words... or they stole the bs from Apple marketing...

Kidding!

I guess if the screen IS the biggest part of the equation (and it must be if that new colour eInk-like technology is being introduced at $12K+ for a simple reader) then we can be optimistic that soon enough we will see the $75 reader when the display prices plummet.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cybermynd
Hmmmm. Thanks for the comments guys. I guess the one thing that sticks with me is that I think eInk technology was supposed to be super inexpensive. I'm sure that if they start pumping out the stuff we will see commodity pricing on it eventually but I know that initially it was supposed to be super light, super cheap and super good.
I don't recall anyone saying it should be cheap to make, certainly not initially ... really low power consumption yes, but I don't remember cheap -- my memory could be playing with me though.

I agree that when more folks are making the stuff it'll get cheaper real quick, but that's back to economies of scale again. I wonder how long PVI's and Phillips' exclusive manufacturing licenses are good for, anyway.
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Old 05-10-2007, 12:48 PM   #8
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wasn't eInk supposed to be so cheap that they were planning on using it on paper boxes to display bar codes or to show cartoons for kids?
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Old 05-10-2007, 04:40 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sic
wasn't eInk supposed to be so cheap that they were planning on using it on paper boxes to display bar codes or to show cartoons for kids?
Wow, we've really wandered off into Diamond Age land. (Fondly remembering the engineer who won an award for putting little animated ads on the disposable chopsticks in a line of pre-packaged meals. )

I recall that one of the vendors -- not PVI -- had come up with a method of producing e ink screens that involved two rolls of plastic, one of which got pressed or cut to make little buckets, which seemed less expensive than the current methods being used, but I can't remember (or find on search) the name of the company or product. So eventually e ink prices could come way down, but not yet.
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Old 05-26-2007, 09:14 AM   #10
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DIY DPF reader?

" 7" colour display that can play videos, images and music and has built in networking and memory card support for $100... Cybermynd"
Add a small flat 12v battery, round and soften the edges and the basis of a cheap ebook device is there. Some of these DPF(digital photo frame)s already display text files which would make JPGbook program unnecessary. And some are larger with 10.4" screen at resolution 800*600. (Even 20.5")

Sure I'd rather have a flexible soft nonreflective eInk device, from a company that I trust not to load damaging files onto my computer, and at a comfortable price. But I think I'll be curling up with a digital photo frame long before then. And even if I'm wrong that will be great too.
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Old 09-05-2007, 12:39 AM   #11
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the same siutuation arises for LCD TVs. Here they are really expensive yet the LCD screen is a lot cheaper to make than the old CRT screens. I'm still waiting for the price to be competitive and its taken a lot longer than I would have thought
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