Amazon had some big news this week with the release of three updated Kindle devices. An updated entry-level Kindle and a Kindle Touch (with touchscreen) were announced along with the biggest news of the Kindle Fire (tablet). We’ve all heard the debate of e-readers, not just the Kindle, as a disruptive technology for the book publishing industry. We commonly hear the statement of ‘books are expensive and obsolete” and the e-reader is the display mechanism of the future. However, I ask, is the news from yesterday more about a disruptive price than disruptive technology?
The most inexpensive Kindle now goes for $79, quite inexpensive in my mind and I’m convinced that many will be willing to spend that amount to switch to an e-reader. I foresee the price of e-readers continuing to fall over the next decade. Will we reach a point where an e-reader can be purchased near a store’s checkout area and sold as a “disposable” device similar to a disposable camera?
Although price point of the device itself is important part, the cost of content is possibly a more important consideration. That brings me to another piece of news from about a week ago that we must factor in: Amazon and Overdrive officially rolling out the availability of e-books that are Kindle compatible. This now enables the 11,000 libraries that use Overdrive to now distribute titles for free. I realize new releases would not be included in the free content available through libraries but many reference books and classic novels are available through Overdrive now.
What do you think? Do you think falling prices in e-reader products and e-content will change people’s behavior for reading content? What does this mean for the book publishing industry?