Today the world ended. Well, not really, but certainly we reached a big point in the world of e-readers, the magic sub-$100 price. Sears is selling the Sony e-reader for $99.99, which a lot of people (I dunno, experts? whatever) have decreed as the magic number that will change the world and make e-readers and e-books really take off.
I think those experts are late. I think the magic moment happened a few months ago, with the release of the iPad. No matter how cool it is that the Sony reader is available from Sears for a hundred bucks, I think it’s largely irrelevant to people who weren’t already interested in buying an e-reader, and wanted to buy it from Sears. And who are those people, exactly?
No matter what you think about products from the Turtleneck Brigade (and in the interest of full disclosure, I drank that Kool-Aid a long time ago), their marketing is monstrous. They’ve sold over 3 million iPads in the first few months the product was on the market. And all those people that bought iPads are just figuring out that they can read books on it, and they don’t have to buy those books through iTunes. So while it’s cool that the Sony reader is cheap, I think it’s just one more piece of the pie in the emergence of e-books.
And don’t bother telling me how much you love books, and will never buy an e-reader, and will only ever buy books in analog format. Because I won’t believe you. You also told me that albums would always be better than digital music and that you couldn’t imagine why anyone would want to carry an mp3 player around with them. Then you got an iPod and never went back. So while I know that books will always be around, the e-readers are going to be an ever-increasing part of our book-selling world, especially since there are apps for most smart phones now that can be e-readers.
So if you’re looking for a cheap e-reader, check out the Sony unit. If you’re looking for an e-reader app, check your phone’s app store. If you’re looking for a great book, buy mine!