The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Sunday, September 14, 2003

Who says the digital age has no new-wave casualties? Electronic books and dedicated e-book reading software and hardware were all the rage back around the turn of the century. Microsoft, Adobe Systems and other heavyweight companies bet big on them, and the market was anticipated to hit $250 million by 2005. I myself was sorely tempted to buy one of those shiny new e-book reading tablets, so awed was I by the concept of having bunches of reading material in a compact package.

Well, three years into the experiment, e-books appear to be not ready for primetime. They haven't taken off in anything more than a niche way, and so the powers that care are hanging back for the time being.

Interesting that the two groups identified as being most receptive to e-books are the demographic extremes: kids and baby boomers/elderly. I recall years ago that these same two groups were considered to be the greatest beneficiaries of the wired revolution, because both had the most inclination and the most amount of time to learn how to adjust to the digital life. Not sure how true that was then, and I'm not sure how true it is now in the case of e-book adoption.