Newspapers move a step closer to digital

The day your daily newspaper fix goes digital is now a step closer with the preview this week of an electronic paper aimed at the newspaper market.

Newspapers are likely to give a big boost to ebook publishers by getting ebook reader hardware into consumers’ hands. Once they’ve got the gadget, there’ll be plenty of demand to fill it up with other digital publications, including ebooks.

The new device, from a company called Plastic Logic, is slated for a 2009 release. It’s based on the same E-Ink technology that drives the screens of ebook readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and the Sony Reader. However, in keeping with the more expansive format that newshounds like, these readers are about A4 size, 2.5 times bigger than today’s paperback-size ebook readers. And it comes with wireless communication, another popular feature.

Newspapers will have one big advantage over book publishers in the initial stages of getting these devices into their readers’ hands. They’re already operating a subscription model that makes it financially more viable to sell or subsidise the hardware while it’s still quite expensive. If the advertising researchers and the circulation audit bureaus recognise these electronic subscribers in their numbers, it’s will further enhance its appeal to newspaper publishers. Pioneers in the digital magazine field, such as Zinio, have already done quite a bit of the preparatory work here. This is an important issue because advertising often contributes more than circulation revenue to publishers’ income.

Here’s a picture of the new device (left) compared to an Amazon Kindle (right) and Sony Reader (centre). For more information, check out this article.

Electronic newspaper from Plastic Logic

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