Has the ebook finally come of age? With all the rage and hoopla surrounding back to back announcements by Amazon on its lower priced and internationally available Kindle and Sony’s Reader and a slew of other ebook reader players, it may be so. While the speed of developments has been amazing, the price-tags of eBook readers has been disappointing.
Kindle at $279 (approx INR 12973) for the international version and Sony’s eReader at $299 (approx INR 13903) and $199 (approx INR 9300) for the Touch and Pocket editions are still beyond the reach of the average man in developing countries. Tracing back, you can easily place your finger on two reasons
- The relatively new e-paper/e-ink technology that needs to go some way before it can become cheaper
- The usual chicken and egg story of mass adoption needed for prices to come down and vice versa
While problem 1 is being addressed by industry players like AUO, problem 2 might need some out of the box thinking by the Amazons’ and the Sonys’ of the world. Here are 2 ideas that should set them thinking
- Target the schools in the developing world: Students in India and China and other parts of the developing world lug kilograms of textbooks to school and back every day. eReaders might just be the solution out. A low cost eReader and tie-ups with major text book publishers might just be a prescription to promote mass adoption of eReaders
- Target the millions of early morning news paper readers: Why not come out with a no frills version of the ebook reader that news paper agents rent out to their readers and exchange every morning with an alternate one that is loaded with the latest newspaper(s). The previous day’s eReader is collected back to be replenished with the next day’s news.