Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ebooks and cell phones

No, I don't mean reading an ebook on your cell phone.

I mean the growing feeling I have that ebook readers are going to become like cell phones. In the economic sense.

Cell phone handsets are cheap. Even high end smartphones are often sold for less than they are worth. Why? Because the money is in the provision of the service not the sale of the devices. Hence why you can get a deeply discounted handset with a two year contract.

As ebooks become more common, I predict that ereaders will come to be treated the same way. Amazon already cheerfully provides free apps for other devices. Because...they aren't making their money from selling readers. They're making it from selling books.

So, today's prediction: Ebook readers will become loss leaders for booksellers just as cell phones are for communications companies.