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Old 02-28-2009, 11:36 AM   #1
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Hearst to launch a wireless e-reader!

http://money.cnn.com/2009/02/27/tech...earst.fortune/

Hearst to launch a wireless e-reader
The publisher plans to introduce a large-format device this year based on electronic-ink technology.
By Michael V. Copeland, senior writer
Last Updated: February 27, 2009: 12:08 PM ET
NEW YORK (Fortune) -- Against a backdrop of plummeting ad revenue for newspapers and magazines, and rising costs for paper and delivery, Hearst Corp., is getting set to launch an electronic reader that it hopes can do for periodicals what Amazon's Kindle is doing for books.

According to industry insiders, Hearst, which publishes magazines ranging from Cosmopolitan to Esquire and newspapers including the financially imperiled San Francisco Chronicle, has developed a wireless e-reader with a large-format screen suited to the reading and advertising requirements of newspapers and magazines. The device and underlying technology, which other publishers will be allowed to adapt, is likely to debut this year.

So-called e-readers like Kindle and the Sony Reader are hand-held gadgets that use electronic "ink" displayed on a crisp, low-power screen to deliver an experience that approximates reading on paper - without the cost of paper, printing and delivery, which can account for as much as 50% of the cost of putting out a periodical.

Hearst executives declined to provide specifics about the forthcoming e-reader, but Kenneth Bronfin, who heads up the interactive media group for Hearst, told Fortune in an interview for a forthcoming magazine story that the publishing company has a deep expertise in the technology. "I can't tell you the details of what we are doing, but I can say we are keenly interested in this, and expect these devices will be a big part of our future," Bronfin told Fortune.

Bronfin led an investment by Hearst more than a decade ago in E Ink, a Cambridge, Mass.-based startup spun out of research at MIT, that supplies the electronic-ink technology used in the vast majority of e-readers on the market today, including Amazon's (AMZN, Fortune 500) Kindle, devices from Sony (SNY), and a crop of next-generation products set to launch in the next 12 to 18 months.

With print revenue in decline and online revenue unable to fill the gap, the $300 billion global publishing industry is increasingly looking to devices like e-readers to lower costs while preserving the business model that has sustained newspapers and magazines.

Insiders familiar with the Hearst device say it has been designed with the needs of publishers in mind. That includes its form, which will approximate the size of a standard sheet of paper, rather than the six-inch diagonal screen found on Kindle, for example. The larger screen better approximates the reading experience of print periodicals, as well as giving advertisers the space and attention they require.

Given the evolving state of the technology, the Hearst reader is likely to debut in black and white and later transition to high-resolution color with the option for video as those displays, now in testing phases, get commercialized. Downloading content from participating newspapers and magazines will occur wirelessly. For durability, the device is likely to have a flexible core, perhaps even foldable, rather than the brittle glass substrates used in readers on the market today.

What Hearst and its partners plan to do is sell the e-readers to publishers and to take a cut of the revenue derived from selling magazines and newspapers on these devices. The company will, however, leave it to the publishers to develop their own branding and payment models. "That's something you will never see Amazon do," someone familiar with the Hearst project said. "They aren't going to give up control of the devices."

The question now is, will readers give up their newspapers and magazines for these new readers?

First Published: February 27, 2009: 10:58 AM ET
San Francisco: A no-newspaper town?
Kindle sparks excitement for e-books
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:40 AM   #2
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great article, thanks for posting it !

interesting figure here :
Quote:
the cost of paper, printing and delivery, which can account for as much as 50% of the cost of putting out a periodical.
that seems to confirm the recent article claiming that the New York Times could actually save money by giving away kindles to its subscribers...
Quote:
Given the evolving state of the technology, the Hearst reader is likely to debut in black and white and later transition to high-resolution color with the option for video as those displays, now in testing phases, get commercialized. Downloading content from participating newspapers and magazines will occur wirelessly. For durability, the device is likely to have a flexible core, perhaps even foldable, rather than the brittle glass substrates used in readers on the market today.

What Hearst and its partners plan to do is sell the e-readers to publishers and to take a cut of the revenue derived from selling magazines and newspapers on these devices. The company will, however, leave it to the publishers to develop their own branding and payment models. "That's something you will never see Amazon do," someone familiar with the Hearst project said. "They aren't going to give up control of the devices."
this sounds like a very exciting plan, and a perfect use for these devices. i'll definitely be keeping a close eye on it. it will be really interesting to see where the industry will take it.
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:46 AM   #3
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I think that where this will "sink or swim" is advertisers' acceptance of electronic publication of such magazines. Most magazines are critically dependent upon advertising revenue - it's far more important than income from subscribers. If the advertisers are wary of paying for ads in e-publications, they're going to struggle. I'm thinking especially of magazines like "Cosmopolitan" which are fully of "glossy ads" of expensively photographed models. Are the advertisers really going to be willing to pay the same for reproduction on an 8 grey-scale eInk screen, I wonder?
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Old 02-28-2009, 11:58 AM   #4
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This is a duplicate thread.
http://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40448
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:27 PM   #5
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I'm glad that we're going to start seeing a bit more competition; usually this drives prices down, and increases adoption rates. As to how good the actual device will be, that remains to be seen of course.
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Old 02-28-2009, 02:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by S.Canton View Post
I'm glad that we're going to start seeing a bit more competition; usually this drives prices down, and increases adoption rates. As to how good the actual device will be, that remains to be seen of course.
We already have a dozen or more products and the price remains about the same. So long as they all use the same PVI screen and technology the prices won't fall much. Large screen devices are really very expensive which is what Hearst is proposing. Perhaps the subscription model used by some European Newspapers can subsidize some of the costs. As you say, it remains to be seen.

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