CES and the explosion of the E-reader

CES 2010 touched down in Las Vegas this past week. There were many new gadgets to salivate over and review but surprisingly enough, what seems to have dominated the conference is an explosion of e-readers. Check out this helpful yahoo tech article for a compendium of brand new e-readers poised to infiltrate the market within the coming year. Of course the market for e-readers already have the kindle 2, Sony e-reader(which includes three different models), and the newly minted Nook from Barnes & Noble, but several other companies have thrown themselves in the ring so to speak. Some of these companies I have never even heard of which without further research is offputting to me as to how their product may or may not make a mark on this burgeoning e-reader industry.

As the hotly rumored apple I tablet has yet to be announced it seems like Sprint has the most envious of electronic reading apparatus thus far. I fail to see why I would need a reader that is the size of a notebook sheet of paper but I concede that it would be easier to read a lot of text on. I personally do not own a reader myself and I have seen the Kindle 2 up close, but I have yet to make the switch from books to e-readers.  This begs the question-does it have to be one or the other? Can you co-exist as a reader with an e-reader and physical books? I take pride in the fact that last weekend I put together a storage cabinet and rearranged two bookshelves to accomodate the piles of books I acquired over the last year. Physical books comfort me, and for me they are like old friends. I have multiple editions of some books-including four versions of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales(and still counting) alone and I love each edition just the same. Yes it would be convenient to have my entire library in an electronic device that weighs mere ounces. But for right now I cannot bring myself to make the jump just yet.

I wonder what this explosion will do for publishing-will it cripple it or will it shift it? Will the shift be detrimental or helpful to an industry already crippled by the financial depression of the past 18 months? I was sad to read on twitter that e-books outsold physical books on amazon for this past holiday season but it would be interesting to see what long-term effects the launching of these new readers will have.

Do you have an e-reader? What kind? Why did you choose an e-reader and do you still have physical books? I have a myriad of questions for e-reader owners that I really truly would like to be informed about.

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