Will 2009 see mass market adoption of electronic book readers such as the wonder that is the Sony Reader?
For those of us on TechRadar that have had the pleasure of living with a Sony Reader in 2008, we can only hope that the coming years will see these wonderful gadgets find their ways into the hands of the millions of avid readers worldwide.
Robert McCrum, respected literary editor of The Observer, is also a huge fan of the e-book, posing the basic (but fundamentally vital) question this week: "will people carry on buying books?"
"Framed like that, it's a no-brainer," writes McCrum.
While TechRadar largely agrees with McCrum's assertion that e-readers are currently "the kind of gizmos the trade will use to lighten its load (literally)" and that "the reading public has yet to make the switch" he is surely bang on the money when he claims that "the iPod moment" for books, while it has not yet occurred, is on the near future horizon.
Emphasis added by me.
Ironically, that "iPod moment" is now very unlikely to have anything to do with book-banning Apple!
The upcoming wireless Sony Reader will be a move towards that.
But I'm also keeping my eye on Palm too.
And who knows what Asus will do, if anything? Let's not forget the impetus for the original EeePC was to empower kids with an inexpensive computer. Could Asus do a US$99 eInk (or Pixel Qi) ePub-capable eBook reader? (And at $US99, would lack of wireless matter?)
Things aren't settled hardware-wise yet.
But bring on those ePub eBooks anyway!