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Friday, January 15, 2010

Are E-Reader Wars on the Horizon?

After reading about all the new e-readers on display at the recent Consumer Electronics Show and all the partnerships being formed between reader manufacturers and content facilitators, I'm getting worried--but not about the same things traditional book publishers seem worried about.

When it comes to e-readers I'm an end stage consumer, pure and simple. I love my Kindle, and based on the comments I'm getting from people looking over my shoulder on the bus these days, I'm no longer an outlier in that regard. So what am I worried about? Well, I'm wondering whether we're about to embark on a series of e-reader wars. Will Amazon, B&N, and Sony--to name just the three biggies--be bidding against one another to get exculsive e-book rights for their particular reader? Will there be e-book auctions? Is the e-book biz going to wind up like VCR and Betamax? (Is anyone else old enough to remember Betamax?) Will it be like Blu Ray and DVD? Will I have to get a Nooke and/or a Sony Reader in addition to my Kindle in order to access all the available e-content? That could be not only costly but also confusing.

I'm too much of a Luddite to understand how all of this works, so my fears may well be groundless. If so, I'd appreciate someone's letting me know so that I can go back to worrying about all the other stuff I have to worry about.

Judy Kern

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