The Neverending Debate about the E-Book

Joe Wikert has an interesting post today about the iPhone, its price drop, and the way in which people get jacked about Apple’s “revolutions” in ways that they never do about eReaders.

Even those of us who aren’t Apple fans marvel when Steve Jobs announces the next big thing; it’s guaranteed to be full of surprises and why-hasn’t-this-feature-always-existed(?!) moments.

When have you felt this way about an ebook device? Did anyone sense a revolution when Sony released their Reader? I didn’t, and based on the rumors that have been leaked about Amazon’s upcoming device, I’m not seeing a revolution on that front either.

Here’s his suggestion to get this digital revolution of reading underway:

Go ahead and make your ebook device so darned feature rich that it’s irresistible. Create something that early adopters will jump all over, even if it is pricey at the start. Then, figure out scaling and component vendor options that allow you to reduce the price down the road. Even if you need to lose money on every unit sold, use the razor blade and game console model: figure that you’ll make your money by selling access to more content. Notice I said “content”, not just books; make sure this device has all the connectivity features to let customers download the latest newspapers, magazines, etc., at home or in the airport.

My question—and maybe I’m just overlooking something, I’m no expert on Apple devices—is why we really need a new device. This seems like a total software issue to me. Can’t someone come up with a kick-ass e-book program to run on your iPhone/iTouch? Do we really need another device?

Having a WiFi enabled device with a pretty screen and full internet browsing functions, couldn’t there be a iBook store where you can download anything you want—magazines, newspapers, novels, textbooks—instantaneously and read it on, from what I’ve heard, is a pretty cool screen already?

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