This opinion piece from ZDnet warns about getting caught in the e-book hype. The one problem that I have with the article is that comparing e-books to toothbrushes is like comparing...well...e-books to toothbrushes.\"I remember the first electric toothbrushes. They\'d revolutionize dental care.
Until companies like Water Pik, Sonicare and others came along with better technology.
Similar thing\'s happening with electronic books (e-books) -- those devices and software that let you download and read digitized works. Lots of hype, some sales, but not enough to alter the industry.\"
\"Only for a time, though. I\'ll tell you why and how e-books will eventually succeed. And why your local college campus holds one of the keys.\"
\"E-BOOK MARKET SIZE\"
First, how big is the potential e-book market? Big, perhaps. Andersen Consulting predicts the consumer e-book market will reach $2.3 billion by 2005, with 28 million people using e-book reading devices.\"
\"Microsoft, which recently cut an e-book deal with Amazon, thinks 100,000 titles could be for sale by the end of next year.\"
\"Still, a more sober assessment from Jupiter Communications finds only 50,000 e-book hardware devices sold in the U.S., with an estimated 1.9 million by the end of 2005 -- a number too small to drastically change how most publishers think about delivering books, according to Jupiter.\"
DON\'T BUY HYPE
\"For now, though, e-books will remain a niche, for at least five years. Then watch out. As e-book hardware prices fall, consumer awareness and demand build and today\'s college students enter the mainstream, e-books should enjoy a nice ride -- toward the end of this decade.\"
\"But they won\'t replace the standard paperback.\"
\"I still have an old-fashioned toothbrush -- as a backup. And I still use dental floss.\"