The tone of the article can be summed up in this quote by Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division:
The perception is that e-books have been around for ten years and haven't done anything . . . But it's happening now. This is really starting to take off.The Times credits Amazon's Kindle e-reader, which is a wireless device, and Oprah Winfey's endorsement of the Kindle in October for the recent strong interest.
Amazon lowered the price of the Kindle to $359 and sells many of the books available for the device--even best-sellers--for $9.99.
In contrast, the latest model of Sony's device, the Reader 700, costs $400. While it has a touch screen and a reading light, it is not wireless.
The article says,
Many Kindle buyers appear to be outside the usual gadget-hound demographic. Almost as many women as men are buying it, . . . and the device is most popular among 55- to 64-year-olds . . .The Times suggests that Apple's iPhone may also provide a huge boost to e-books as iPhone users are buying almost as many digital books as the Sony Reader owners are.
Nobody know how much consumer habits will shift. Some of the most committed bibliophiles maintain an almost fetishistic devotion to the physical book. But the technology may have more appeal for particular kinds of people, like those who are the heaviest readers.
Both Sony and Amazon are expected to debut new models of their devices next year.
More e-reading devices are expected to be introduced soon. Plastic Logic out of California is almost ready to test its 8.5 x 11" reader which it hopes to sell in 2010.
Polymer Vision out of the Netherlands has a BlackBerry-sized device with a 5" roll-up screen that can be unfurled to read.
Foxit Software is expected to introduce a cheaper reader at $230 in early 2009.
E Ink hopes to introduce color screens in 2010.
Read the article here.