Amazon and Google both want you to want e-books
Amazon is expected to launch its Kindle e-Book reader in October. According to the New York Times, the device will cost between $400 and $500 and include the ability to download content over a Wi-Fi connection. No computer needed. While that does set the device apart from previous e-book readers, the price tag is still a bit high considering you can buy a lot of books for $400.
The Kindle will reportedly come with some freebies like reference books and the ability to read RSS feeds. We can barely contain our enthusiasm while we flip through the same content on our PDAs.
Google, on the other hand plans to monetize its Book Search service with more than paid links. An upcoming upgrade will allow you to access full versions of some books for a fee. Currently you only get snippets of most books available on Google Book Search. No word on whether Google plans to offer downloadable versions of the books or if you'll need to plop down in front of your computer for a good read.
These two approaches raise a good question. Is the reason that e-books haven't taken off because of the hardware or the software? Do we need better e-book reading devices that mimic or improve the experience or reading a paper book? Or are there enough devices out there for people who want them, but a lack of content (particularly DRM-free content)?