The eBook Bubble: Save Your Money!

Oh my god. It’s getting like fleas hopping off a stray dog.

Plastic Logic Shows Off a (Quick) Look at its Kindle Killer: Meet the Que


Que Reader website

Spring Design Announces Dual Screen E-book Reader,
Hyperlinking Text with Multimedia


And tomorrow Barnes & Noble is due to announce its “Athena” eBook device, which somewhat resembles the Spring device scheme: eInk screen grafted to a minor color touchscreen.

All of these are due to be a passing fad. Don’t fall for them.

Want evidence this is a bubble? The price of the jetBook recently went from $299.00 to $199.00. If they could suddenly afford to cut the price by one-third, why didn’t they do it sooner to really compete? I have to wonder if they’re simply dumping their stock now in order to exit!

There are several important factors that work against buying all of these devices:

1) eInk is a rotten technology. It is. It’s slow and limited in functionality and no amount of software/hardware tinkering by Sony or anyone else can make that sow’s ear into a silk purse. eInk should be used for advertising, period.

2) Pixel Qi has a superior screen and it’s going to be here within a few months. How widespread this screen will be depends on whether or not Asus sees the wisdom in picking it up for its own eBook device. If Asus picks it up, it’s game over for all of the eInk pushers.

3) Apple will announce its mythical iTablet soon, perhaps as early as January. Yes, it will cost more — but so did the iPhone. Now the iPhone dominates. The iTablet will likewise take over the entire “print media” market, bending all of it to its will — just as the iPod did with music.

4) Digital books versus eBooks. Vook, Enhanced Editions, Disney, Electronic Arts and even the government have skipped eInk and are pioneering digital books, which are clearly superior to the lightly tarted-up text files ePub offers. ePub will be dumped — because Apple won’t settle for such an low-end abomination.

5) Consider your money to be for an investment instead of a purchase. This will put the matter in perspective. Do you want regret or satisfaction later? If you buy now, you’ll sow upcoming regret. If you wait, you will be satisfied beyond anything being offered today.

Save your money. Let all these companies spend theirs.

Prior eBook Bubble posts here:

eBook Notes For Friday October 16, 2009
eBook Notes For Thursday, October 15, 2009
Qisda (Formerly BenQ) To Do eBook Reader
Toshiba: We’ll Do An eBook Device Too!
Yet Another eBook Device: Oaxis
The eBook Bubble Coming To CES 2010
eBook Bubble Notes

13 Responses to The eBook Bubble: Save Your Money!

  1. kittent says:

    hey mike,

    I agree with you about ereaders. I’m glad I didn’t get a sony ereader. My question is: if not epub, then what? Digital adobe? That allows for digital books, yes? I’m trying to find out from you just exactly what kind of ebooks I should buy, should I choose to buy an ebook.

    BTW, I have to say that reading “proviso” on my netbook was easily as pleasant as reading say, gone with the wind, on paper.

  2. mikecane says:

    I will now say something shocking: Stick to PAPER.

    It’s Apple that will devise whatever digital book format the future uses.

    Don’t confuse eBook with digital book. Two different things.

  3. SteveP says:

    “Shocking”? NOT!
    Books (PAPER!) reached there current position because they are, #1. LEGIBLE. They allow your eye to follow the words with reasonable line lengths and reasonable numbers of words on a page – and then your eyes can flick easily to the NEXT page!
    For ‘pocket books’ add “easy to carry” and “relatively cheap” (particularly on Amazon or at “Half Price Books”)
    For text books, larger format with illustrations, technical details and ability to mark-up and add notes.

    Until eBooks or digital books offer the same technical abilities AND legibility AND portability AND same OR BETTER cost and portability, they are ‘toys’ with NO future.
    I am an Apple fan. I HOPE they come up with “the” solution – even if it’s 2 (or more?) solutions. (like a ‘pocketbook’ sized reader and a ‘textbook’ size.) But if the ‘solution’ is not as good as a BOOK – particularly if the content is MORE expensive – then it’s a non-starter for ME.
    Like why get music from iTunes when you can get the full physical CD at full CD quality for under 10.00 on Amazon? NOW iTunes has better quality, but they haven’t adapted to ‘bargain bin’. I suspect “e” publishers won’t either.
    “e” avoids all the whole physical, shipping, retailing, storing etc. issues. Just like iTunes (etc.) It SHOULD be less expensive (a lot!) I suspect publishers won’t adapt to this model any more than music publishers or movie studios.

    There COULD be electronic advantages, but until the other aspects of electronic media fall into place (and my stock hopes Apple is the winner!) I’m not holding my breath. I’ll continue to buy (mostly discounted) BOOKS and CDs.

    (I think I’m agreeing with ALL of you – in my inimically convoluted way! :) )

  4. barbara says:

    read this comment after I posted to your next blog post. Paper is okay. I love paper. Ebooks are easier to lose.

    I don’t mind reading ebooks for now….

  5. worldserpent says:

    Agreed. E-reader purchases are simply ridiculous, and they’re dropping so fast. I’ve said to myself that I’m going to buy an e-reader when they cost as much as the cheapest iPod does now.

  6. robinson says:

    Agreed 100%! Save your money and wait until Apple releases a product.

    I keep reading (elsewhere) comments that e-ink ereaders are so much easier on the eyes than LCD laptop screens… in most cases, I think it’s rationalization and propaganda. Millions read for hours daily on their laptop screens without any problems– and then consider the irritating, eye straining, flashing that occurs on page turning and screen refresh on e-ink readers. Hardly something you’d want to put up with and read on!

  7. Mike Mc says:

    “Millions read for hours daily on their laptop screens without any problems– and then consider the irritating, eye straining, flashing that occurs on page turning and screen refresh on e-ink readers. Hardly something you’d want to put up with and read on!”

    Being a person who owns an E Ink reader, a laptop and works on a computer all day I must say you couldn’t be more wrong about this. The screen refresh on a reader is no more irritating than turning a page on a paper book. And if Apple is the future of electronic publishing than count me out. I bought a Sony for it’s wide format support and I have no desire to be locked into some proprietary Apple format and be forced to use that bloated beast known as iTunes.

  8. Jav says:

    I love paper books, but sometimes you can get faster and easier an electronic version of the book. I have a custom “solution”: a 10.2″ tablet PC with basic windows OS that I use to read. It is thin, no keyboard, canread anywhere, and battery lasts 4 hours. Cost me $200 (used) but I can read word, pdf, cbr, and most formats, don’t have to cope with DRM and the publisher can’t “delete” the content from my device – that is my main reason not to get a kindle. I like to have control of what i get and not being “spoon fed” by the publishers.

    It’s just like the VCR wars: let’s wait until the dust settles and we will have a better perspective and options.

  9. Tiger Lee says:

    I own an Onyx Boox ebook reader and I have to say I disagree with those advocating wait and see what is going to happen next.

    The eInk technology is simply great as it really emulate paper and is so easy on the eyes. I get eye fatigue after working on my laptop for more than 30 minutes. With the ebook reader I could go on all night.

    And what’s more, I could carry a whole library of books (both in english and chinese), magazines, work documents, presentation charts etc etc on a slim device which I could carry with me anywhere.

    In technology, we could always wait for the next better device to surface, but if you enjoy reading and don’t have a set of iron-eyes, get the ebook reader.

  10. eBookWise | says:

    […] about, the more I fall in love with my little workhorse. Worse! He sees ebooks (currently) as little more than tarted-up text files (which is […]

  11. Mike Scarborough says:

    Anybody who says e-ink is a passing fad is obviously in their 20’s or 30’s and doesn’t know what intense eye pain feels like after just one hour or so of reading on a laptop screen. Yes, e-ink’s refresh rate with while scrolling is annoying, and the way the screen goes black between pages is extremely annoying; but neither of these inconveniences are as annoying as the feeling that you want to rip out your eyes so they will stop hurting. People who really want e-ink aren’t looking for the latest, greatest tablet pc. They just want to be able to read a large pdf without going blind.

  12. Tim says:

    I would rather not allow Apple, or Microsoft to take over the “e-reader industry,” because, like the Kindle, they will attempt to monopolize this industry and turn it in to a charade. I don’t believe color-screens on an e-reader are necessary, but it is a selling point, that is all, and the functionality of the product is actually increased.

    For those of you that say reading on a laptop is perfectly fine…boy I wish I had your eyes, because mine seem to want to squint closed when I read from an lcd screen. I say if you want quick access to cheap books, then buy an e-reader. Bad thing about paperback/hardback books is that they are expensive, use up way to much paper, bend and tear up easy. E-readers are a good thing, as long as they quit “removing” books from your device, so I say buy them.

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