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Emergence of e-readers could make newsstands obsolete


Andrea Weinfurt

Andrea Weinfurt

This post was written by Andrea Weinfurt, Industry News Manager for Cision US and the Editorial Director of the Navigator.

My fourth grade teacher religiously read books shrouded in a thick black leather cover during recess and the lunch hour. Years later I found out she was actually reading trashy Harlequin romance novels and wanted to protect her students’ naïve young eyes from those risqué covers.

These days, I’m guessing she could avoid all that trouble and just buy a Kindle.

Amazon introduced the e-reader Kindle as an alternative to flipping through the pages of an actual book.  Here’s  how it works:  You buy the eight-by-five inch device, starting at $259, and then purchase books, magazines or newspapers that will be downloaded onto the hardware as soon as 60 seconds later.

 Recently, Barnes & Noble announced a competitor to Kindle to be introduced in late October. Plastic Logic also unveiled plans this summer to produce a device that’s bigger than the Kindle and allows more connectivity. The Que, slated for a 2010 release, also has a touchscreen and high quality images.

Although all these devices are in their infancies, it’s certain they will change the way people consume news and entertainment. I liken the current version of Kindle to the “old school” Nintendo system where Super Mario Brothers was the marquee game. Barnes & Noble’s upcoming device has color, a significant upgrade from the black and white “pages” of a Kindle.

Undoubtedly these new toys are more convenient than lugging around piles of newspapers and magazines. Kindle’s presence has sparked other big names like Apple to work on more affordable tablet-sized computers. Likewise, Google recently announced plans for an online service called Google Editions that allows users to purchase books online and access the content on their cell phones.

On a basic level, the convenience of having an e-reader rather than a stack of paper is undeniable. However, I get immense satisfaction after turning the last page of a book or polishing off every section of a newspaper.  Then again, I also used to enjoy playing outside before becoming addicted to Nintendo and spending hours playing Paperboy.

Do you have or would you buy an e-reader? Will they become as ubiquitous as iPods? Do you think it’s as convenient as buying a book, newspaper or magazine?

My fourth grade teacher would love to know.

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