announced that it is expanding its selection of newspapers and magazines in its e-book store. Starting today, users of Sony's e-readers will be able to subscribe to 20 new newspapers and magazines, including the New York Times, Boston Globe, San Jose Mercury News, PC Magazine and Foreign Affairs. With the newspaper business in turmoil, it only makes sense for these papers to try to get a better foothold on more devices.Sony just
eInk vs. LCDs
For users who don't own an e-reader yet but are looking into getting one, the question right now is to either wait for the iPad and go with a regular LCD screen for reading books, or to choose a more traditional (and cheaper) e-reader like the Kindle or Sony Reader that feature electronic ink. While some users don't mind the blacklit LCD screens of their phones to read, others can't fathom reading any long-form content on these screens.
Fighting Off the iPad
For Sony, Amazon, B&N and others who are currently betting on electronic ink for their devices, one of the best ways to distinguish themselves from Apple is to offer more content over their free wireless connections and to play up the advantages of eInk. In this context, adding a newspaper like the New York Times (which is also a favorite of Steve Jobs and features heavily in Apple's iPad ads and other promotional material) makes a lot of sense. For the newspapers, getting on more devices and selling more subscriptions is simply good business. Sony charges up to $14.99 per month for these subscriptions.
Given that all of these papers could sell their own apps and subscriptions on the iPad as well - and that some of them will be available for free - the availability of newspapers may not be a deciding factor for a lot of potential iPad and e-reader buyers. Hopefully, however, we will also see a lot of innovative newspaper and magazine apps on the iPad. Chances are that these new apps will make today's traditional e-readers seem rather quaint in comparison. The availability of these apps could easily sway a lot of potential e-reader buyers to get an iPad instead.
What is your experience? Do you think e-books and newspapers just look better on eInk? Or are you waiting for the innovative newspaper apps on the iPad that will include video and other interactive content?