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Old 06-16-2010, 09:42 PM   #1
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Arstechnica: Whatever happened to the e-reader tsunami of 2010?

Whatever happened to the e-reader tsunami of 2010?

"... After all, doesn't E-Ink still make for a more comfortable reading experience than the iPad's LCD screen?

The answer, in at least my own case, is yes, E-Ink is easier on the eyes, but I've found that carrying only one device is easier on the shoulders.

Now that I've gotten used to reading on the iPad, I've ditched my Kindle entirely. I've now gone back to buying my books in dead-tree format for at-home reading, both because print is more relaxing and because it comes without DRM. I also have a few Kindle copies of some of my books on my iPad for when I travel. So in some cases I'm paying twice for the same book, but the print copy is mine—I honest-to-God own it—while the electronic copy is more of a fee that I pay to be able to read the book on my iPad when I go on a long trip.

Ultimately, the iPad and its upcoming tablet competitors are not going to completely displace E-Ink and other passive display alternatives, but Apple's success has almost certainly constrained those devices' growth prospects.
"

I am not sure I really get the author's reasoning for going to "dead tree" books, because he doesn't like reading on the iPad's LCD screen, but still he makes an interesting point about the future of e-ink.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:52 PM   #2
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[QUOTE=Sonist;963934
Now that I've gotten used to reading on the iPad, I've ditched my Kindle entirely. I've now gone back to buying my books in dead-tree format for at-home reading, both because print is more relaxing [/QUOTE]

That's like going back to riding a horse because the Hummer is too hard on gas...
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:20 PM   #3
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The author of that article is simply insane. He's paying for books twice because the paper copy is more "relaxing" at home but he can't bear to take it along for a trip... So he must buy the iPad version too?

Last edited by Teddman; 06-16-2010 at 11:25 PM.
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Old 06-16-2010, 11:34 PM   #4
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He's obviously a techy and not a reader. What if you don't have or want an iPad? What if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on an ereader? What if you aren't really dazzled by technology for technology's sake and just want a decent, affordable device to read books?

Personally, if my preferred reading device had me buying duplicates in paper, I'd consider it a failure.
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Old 06-17-2010, 02:14 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by J. Strnad View Post
He's obviously a techy and not a reader. What if you don't have or want an iPad?
So what if you don't? He clearly has, which why he mentions it - have you actually read the piece?.

Quote:
What if you don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on an ereader? What if you aren't really dazzled by technology for technology's sake and just want a decent, affordable device to read books?
Then you buy something cheaper - a Kobo, say, or a Kindle - or start reading on a device you already own - smart phone, iPod, or even an old eBay or boot fair PDA, like I (and many others on these boards) did...

Quote:
Personally, if my preferred reading device had me buying duplicates in paper, I'd consider it a failure.
It's his money - nothing wrong in buying different versions of something if you find one more convenient than the other. I've bought paperback versions of hardbacks I already own just to take on holiday and leave behind; I've bought eBook versions of print books I own because I prefer reading them - but I don't regard print books as a 'failure'.

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Old 06-17-2010, 02:35 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by petermillard View Post
It's his money - nothing wrong in buying different versions of something if you find one more convenient than the other. I've bought paperback versions of hardbacks I already own just to take on holiday and leave behind; I've bought eBook versions of print books I own because I prefer reading them - but I don't regard print books as a 'failure'
The difference is, this guy is concluding that his eccentric habit of buying multiple copies of a book in both print and digital somehow means the writing is on the wall for the dedicated e-reader. It's not just about the validity of his lifestyle--of course he is free to do what he wishes--it's about his assuming his habits will be reflected in the marketplace at large.
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Old 06-17-2010, 05:24 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddman View Post
The difference is, this guy is concluding that his eccentric habit of buying multiple copies of a book in both print and digital somehow means the writing is on the wall for the dedicated e-reader. It's not just about the validity of his lifestyle--of course he is free to do what he wishes--it's about his assuming his habits will be reflected in the marketplace at large.
No, that's not what the author is saying. His little personal anecdote is only a tiny amount of his article, and is not direct support for his comments about ebook market displacement.

His thesis is nothing new either...it's a common simple question that's been iterated on gadget blogs for a while. Did the iPad thwart the ebook reader boom? His answer: Maybe, but probably not completely.

Not unique at all.

Last edited by LDBoblo; 06-17-2010 at 05:27 AM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:28 AM   #8
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In my humble opinion, the iPad is just another Apple designed money grab product. I've been able to do everything the ipad offers you for years, and with other devices. The only difference is that the ipad just happens to get far better battery life. But if the slew of new tablets coming out have even half of what I think they will, they'll walk all over the iPad like a cheap rug.
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Old 06-17-2010, 07:39 AM   #9
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I think he missed the point.

A lot of these "new" ereaders were simply chinese OEM Kindle clones: no one in Europe and USA chose to market them. Why doing it? And why a customer had to buy them?

Some other were SiPix based devices: they were/are delayed due to technical reasons.

And some other are those infamous 8"-11" expensive devices (QUE, Skiff, and others): they are simply too big, too expensive, they don't have colour. Companies saw how Irex went and realized what would happen if they put them on the market.
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Old 06-17-2010, 08:16 AM   #10
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He hears the wolves howling and points and picks the moon, which is the biggest, shiniest object in the sky, as the explanation. It's a bit of sensationalist journalism, pick an easy target and write a fiction about it.

The large screen devices are dedicated devices for professionals. The ipad is a mass market device for consuming random media. The two markets intersect only very slightly. His argument is invalid.

My opinion is that both these devices are using relatively new technology, not e-ink's proven technology that has been in the Kindle for a long time. So they have some production and cost problems, which is normal for new things.

Last edited by fishface; 06-17-2010 at 08:20 AM.
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Old 06-17-2010, 11:28 AM   #11
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Old 06-18-2010, 08:04 AM   #12
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Old 06-18-2010, 10:24 AM   #13
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Yes, Pete, I did read the piece, and also the author's original review of ereaders from the previous CES in 2009. And I'll stand by my statement that he is clearly a techy and not a reader. My terminology wasn't defined, so that may have led to misunderstanding.

Anyone reading books on an ereader of any stripe is obviously both a techy and a reader. But from observing ebooks for years, I've seen that it's pretty easy to divide most readers (meaning the people doing the reading) into two groups at this point: One loves gadgets first and is drawn to them to do his/her incidental reading, and the other loves reading first and sees ereaders as a way to do more of it, faster, cheaper and/or better.

Jon's review and article glommed onto the three techiest objects that glittered on his sidewalk: The QUE, the Skiff, and a new kind of display (not even a complete device).

These items were possibly swept aside by the iPad, so in Jon's view, the iPad dealt a serious blow to ereaders. He's even given up his own Kindle (once a shiny, attention-grabbing device, but not so much anymore) in favor of the iPad, which he loves, except for reading at home, for which he buys paper books.

So for him, in his blind-man-and-the-elephant way, ereaders are all but dead, killed probably by the iPad.

And yeah, I think that if your ereader doesn't provide you with an enjoyable reading experience when you're sitting at home in your favorite chair with your favorite drink and a dog-at-your-feet/cat-in-your-lap, it's failing you as a reading device. A Kindle or Nook or Kobo might well fail someone who mainly reads magazines or textbooks or needs large pages and full color; in this case, for some reason, Jon doesn't like reading on his iPad at home. That doesn't mean I think that the iPad isn't a good device for him, but yeah, as an ereader, it doesn't seem to be doing the job.

And of course this doesn't mean that it doesn't work for you!
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Old 06-18-2010, 11:13 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. Strnad View Post

And yeah, I think that if your ereader doesn't provide you with an enjoyable reading experience when you're sitting at home in your favorite chair with your favorite drink and a dog-at-your-feet/cat-in-your-lap, it's failing you as a reading device.
Very insightful and I believe you nailed it exactly.

This bit I quoted is actually one of my worries as a retailer. With the push to get devices below $300 then $200 and now $100 there is rush to produce the one that lowers the price and get some press out of it.

What has happened though is that it has produced a large number of, imho, inferior devices. Some people- early adopters on this forum for instance- try them out and say "oh well maybe the next one will be better". But many people try it, have a horrible experience and then think " wow these things suck, never buying another one" and will just skip the whole category.

If we see a $50 ereader this year that sells alot but has horrible hardware or firmware it could really hurt the smaller brands overall.
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Old 06-18-2010, 12:52 PM   #15
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This bit I quoted is actually one of my worries as a retailer. With the push to get devices below $300 then $200 and now $100 there is rush to produce the one that lowers the price and get some press out of it.

What has happened though is that it has produced a large number of, imho, inferior devices. Some people- early adopters on this forum for instance- try them out and say "oh well maybe the next one will be better". But many people try it, have a horrible experience and then think " wow these things suck, never buying another one" and will just skip the whole category.

If we see a $50 ereader this year that sells alot but has horrible hardware or firmware it could really hurt the smaller brands overall.
I think it's amazing how so many companies have worked so hard for so long to not build a good reader, including the big shots (might even say especially the big shots). Makes me wonder how crippled and disconnected their reader R&D departments are in the first place, without having resources diverted to copycat tablet development.
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