Saturday, October 24, 2009

E-Book Break Through?

On page 17 of the December issue of RT Book reviews, Fan Forum, a few paragraphs posed the question of what 2010 might bring to the e-book market. Like many of you, I'm delighted when I see Sony advertising their readers on TV. A few weeks ago, my local Borders had a display only steps inside the door featuring the Sony reader. Apparently Best Buy will have e-readers in stock for the holiday rush. Hopefully many desperate or impulse buyers will have lots of bucks in their pockets.
Even with the increased advertising, availability and variety of readers out there, the same problem exists for all of them. The price. In today's economic climate, how many consumers will justify spending a couple of hundred dollars on a device to read books? Though I and many of my friends believe books to be a necessity, they really don't rank up there with food and shelter. And like computers, digital cameras, cell phones and all those other clever gadgets of advanced technology, you're likely to find a new, improved, super-duper, faster model of your chosen reader on the market before you even figure out how all the capabilities of the one you purchased for the price of a car payment.
Why aren't e-readers getting cheaper? The competition expands each day. Shouldn't the price come down as the manufacturers compete for the consumers dollars?
I suspect part of the problem is the lack of great sales. They haven't sold enough to saturate the market so they keep the price high to pay for R&D costs. But by keeping the price high, they may never sell enough. It's a circle puzzle.
I still don't have an e-reader, and I really want one. With two children in college, I'm one of those poor consumers waiting for the prices to come down.
What is your theory on the enduring high price of e-readers?


Natalie J. Damschroder said...

Well, there have been some significant price reductions, but that doesn't make the readers affordable yet. :) I think the technology keeps improving, which requires the price to remain at a certain level.

Me, I'm torn between my geekiness that wants the tech and my awareness that I much prefer paper books, hate reading on a screen, and find the readers uncomfortable to hold (from what little I can tell without handling any long-term).

Ava Quinn said...

I'm not interested in an ereader. I read ebooks on my laptop and am fine with it. I don't have a real need for one that would make the convenience they offer a necessity. (I don't travel or commute to work, etc.)

I think too that many people are waiting for the dust to settle with ebook format, DRM and new included capabilities that will make the Swiss army knife pale in comparison.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I've read ebooks on my computer also and don't mind it but it's not very portable. I think I would buy one if the price was right.