This article, by Erik Sherman, originally appeared on bnet on 1/8/10. It’s interesting to revisit the information and opinion contained within it eleven months later.
The line of announcements on the e-book reader front, both at CES and out in the rest of the world, has become prodigious. It seems like almost every week someone comes out with a new one. And that’s exactly the reason that, for the good of itself, its investors, and everyone else, Amazon (AMZN) should kill off its Kindle.
There was a point when pushing its own device helped jump-start a relatively nascent form of publishing and drove others, like Sony and Barnes & Noble to either improve or introduce their own units. And it’s easy to understand how Amazon wanted a vibrant e-book market: better potential pricing because of no printing, virtually zero inventory costs, limitless availability, and instant gratification for customers.
The seeming potential has become obvious to almost everyone in the industry (or trying to get into it), as recent announcements have shown:
- Magazine publisher Hearst is backing the Skiff, with high resolution and the ability for full-motion video.
- Notion Ink announced the yet-to-ship Adam.
- Plastic Logic finally showed its lightweight Que after over a year of promising to.
- Borders Book Group (BGP) and Spring Design have a deal to sell the latter’s Alex reader, which has dual screens (one to show Internet links) and runs Android.
- Book distributor Baker & Taylor, working with K-NFB Reading Technology, announced rich media reader software called Blio, which hopefully will be successful or likely attain the moniker Blooey.
It’s a pretty full slate that faces twin pressures.