Cheaper eBook readers? Meh.
Even at the current prices, I see a dim future for dedicated eBook readers like the Kindle or Nook. First, they are too expensive – both in terms of the devices and the content. As I wrote a few months ago, electronic books have many disadvantages thanks to Digital Rights Management: there are few ways to share electronic books, a device is locked to a single online store, and it is nearly impossible to convert your existing library to electronic books. (All of these problems are solved on digital music players).
Furthermore, dedicated eBook readers like the Kindle or Nook lack the versatility of an Apple iPad. With an iPad, not only can you read books, but you can watch movies, play games and browse the web. And with an iPad, you can buy electronic books from multiple sources besides Apple. In fact, you can use an iPad to read electronic books from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble.
Amazon touts that you can subscribe to electronic magazines on the Kindle. Sorry, but no magazine we get is available electronically on the Kindle.
Earlier, I said that there was a big price drop in two eBook readers. I didn’t say “two popular eBook readers” because I doubt that either one would make the bestseller list.