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February 20, 2006

News & Opinion: Digitalized books: is the end of hardcover/softcover choices coming soon?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:05 PM – Filed under: Publishing Industry

Books going digital has been a long time coming. Nearly every other information source has gone digital from magazines to the local newspaper. Yet the digital book craze has not yet hit. Most books are currently available in the digital format but most consumers are not to keen to purchase digital books.
Change is in the wind and this will probably change in the next few years. There's new technology out made by E Ink -- a company that focuses on delivering paper information in a digital form. This new technology enables digital book readers to become even better for readers. The method involves "arranging tiny black and white capsules into words and images wtih an electronic charge." It makes digital books as easy to read as a hardcover book.
Worried about batteries? According to a recent BusinessWeek article (registration required), batteries can last for up to 20 books. Wow; that's pretty impressive.
There's one reader in the making that uses the E Ink technology -- it's the Sony Reader (around $400) that's due out this spring. Right now, a popular reader is the Palm Treo. There are other readers that are due out this spring but most seem to be focused more on the business market rather than the consumer market.
It'll be interesting to see what happens with the digitalization of books. With the new reader technology and Google's book scanning pursuit, there's sure to be an influx of more digital book technology.
The question remains: will you go digital or stay with the traditional paperbacks and hardcovers?

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.