Tuesday Discussion Items

Put that on your wedding registry! First, in shopping for a new apartment, my wife and I went to Bed Bath & Beyond. As I arrived before she did, I was wandering around the store when I saw an e-reader (pictured right) sitting on the shelf near the door. Yes, an e-reader in BB&B. A color one with a touch screen for under $200, at that. Barnes & Noble is the content provider, but from the options, it seems a lot like a Kindle. I couldn’t actually hold one since the display was quite fixed and non-interactive, but it really made me do a double take. Is it any good? I have no clue. But it’s being sold on the shelf of a store that does not come to mind when you think books. This really reinforces the my notion that, within five years, a company like Amazon will throw in a Kindle for free when you order five or more books.

(This is something that was discussed at a dinner I attended at ALA Annual; it’s raised some eyebrows when I said that I thought they would be giving them away within five years. I think this is proof positive it is headed that way, but I still have four years and eleven months to go.)

Tonight, I also saw a touch screen mp3 player on sale for under $100 at a CVS. That’s certainly a statement for market penetration.

Second, here are a couple of items for people to discuss:

Less than three weeks after the Times paywall went up, data shows a massive decline in web traffic.

Amazon.com Inc. said it reached a milestone, selling more e-books than hardbacks over the past three months.

Read either or both stories and leave a comment please. What do these stories mean?

What does the success or failure of the Times online subscription mean for the internet? Does this herald a new pay age for content? What would news piracy look like? And what does the sale of e-books outpacing hardcover books really mean? Is the digital divide widening? Will other vendors appear on the e-book marketplace for libraries?

Let’s hear it!

AndyW (You can follow this link and make a comment on my personal blog, as that is where I will be directing discussion. -A)