Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Plastic Logic and newspaper/magazine e-revenue

Plastic Logic's plans
This product isn't positioning itself to compete with the small Amazon Kindle for the home book market.  Where it might certainly challenge Amazon is in the student and technical areas, but with no wireless access.  From the article:
Plastic Logic is planning to release its, as yet un-named, reader in January 2010 ... the Plastic Logic product will have a considerably larger display [than the Kindle] and will be marketed towards the 'mobile business professional,' rather than the leisure reader, clarified Benzi. The screen will measure 10.7 inches diagonally (about 27cm) compared to Kindle's 6 inch/15cm display.
... Despite its larger size, the device will weigh about the same as the Kindle, as it will be made from plastic rather than glass and silicon. This also gives it the advantage of being more robust and durable, explained Benzi . . .The device is extremely easy to use, Benzi added, with an "intuitive touch screen" and just one button to power the display.

... Some modifications will still have to be made to put a newspaper on such a product, but Benzi explained that there are companies which can do that for them. It will also be much easier to transfer documents such as word or pdf files from a computer to the e-reader, via a USB port. Although the product is focused on the needs of a business person, that does not mean that books will not be available also: "I don't want to discount the fact that the business professional enjoys leisure reading," Benzi added.

... Content will be available through a shop, similar to Kindle's. The first product will be in grey scale but Benzi described the company's commitment to producing a colour device in the near future as a reason why papers with strong colour branding, such as the Financial Times and USA Today, are so keen to collaborate. Plastic Logic recently signed deals with these two publications

... Benzi explained that although the first device will not access the internet, consumers might well be able to click on an advertisement for additional information on products or offers:
Just what we want: one-sided information.
More invasively ... See the next paragraph
... Plastic Logic will be able to "track the information about what the customer is doing with the device," a system which would seem to offer benefits to both newspapers and advertisers.

... Pricing for the device or for subscriptions have not yet been finalised, but Benzi confirmed that prices would be competitive. He accepts that there are some savings when producing a digital product which should be passed on to the customer, and that will be taken into account when comparing the pricing with a print subscription.

... one of the advantages of the device is that readers can focus entirely on consuming content, they will not be disturbed by emails
I think people will be demanding email capability for prices PL will charge for the large-screen unit.
... It must expect some competition from Hearst, which just announced that it is to release a large-format wireless e-reader this year, "suited to the reading and advertising requirements of newspapers and magazines," according to Fortune. It seems that the newspapers are indeed enthusiastic, but are the customers?
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1 comment:

  1. The current Kindle 2 size has some real advantages: It fits in an overcoat pocket; will fit a man's suit jacket pocket without the cover (not recommended); will fit in a woman's purse.

    Replacing the keyboard with a virtual keypad and making the screen longer would be a real plus.

    I receive newspapers on my Kindle 2 and have no trouble reading them.

    In its present form, the Kindle 2 is probably not suited for items with a heavy picture content (some magazines; some text books).

    Having each newspaper offer its own reader makes no sense - it is like each TV channel offering its own TV set.

    We may end up with one "small" unit for books and one "large" unit for textbooks, etc.

    Kindle 2 needs to fix the contrast issue. Notwithstanding their PR, the gray background is too dark and the fonts are too light. I suspect this will be ultimately handled by a software upgrade.

    I would expect more frequent product cycles with eBay being a market for those who want to upgrade.

    The savings for books is much less than Amazon advertises because so many are discounted significantly off the cover price by Amazon and others. Frequently, the Kindle prices is only $2 or $3 less than the real sales price.

    One open secret is that many books that are more than a few months old have been scanned and can be found on the web in pdf or lit form and transfered to the Kindle. Transfer can be done with available software so that Amazon isn't involved. That availability will keep prices in check.


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