I’m in Las Vegas this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show, aka CES, and if there’s one hot device out there this year it’s the tablet. Tablet tablet tablet.
People have been joking that it’s raining tablets in the desert. Seemingly every company even tangentially related to creating consumer electronics is debuting their own tablet, and that’s on top of the iPad, which some people think could sell as many as 65 million units worldwide this year. (Disclosure: links are to CNET, I work at CNET, and the views expressed herein are solely my own).
What does this tablet explosion mean for books? Well, more and more and more people out there in the coming year are going to own devices that they can read e-books on. All of that competition will inevitably drive down prices. And even if someone buys a tablet for gaming or to watch movies, they still will own an e-reader and will easily be able to download and read books should one strike their fancy.
It’s funny to look back on my original Kindle post way back in November 2007, when the e-book future was still very murky. Here’s an excerpt:
In my opinion there will never be a widely used iPod of books, a device that people buy specifically for books — e-books will take off when they can be easily downloaded and easily read on a device like a larger iPhone-of-the-future, something people already have, which evens out the economics since you don’t have to plop down a significant chunk of money before you even buy a book. This would give e-books the decisive edge in economics, which might just tip the world of books toward e-books. Until then? Printed page for most of us.
Those larger-iPhones-of-the-future are here, and the economics are a-changing. The future is still unknown, but looking around at all these tablets at CES, I have to say, the future is coming very very quickly. And with e-ink readers starting to hover around $100, it’s not as significant an investment for a device that does one thing very well.
Do you think the tipping point has arrived? Are you planning on getting a tablet this year?