Rupert Murdoch, Wireless Provider Interest Confirms the Rise of the E-Book

It's clear that e-books are the future of printed works, even if right now Amazon's Kindle is the only device that demonstrates the power of the new medium. But with news that Rupert Murdoch wants in on the scene, and with Verizon being courted by e-book makers, it looks like the triumph of the new tech is assured.

Amazon Kindle Murdoch's interest in e-books surfaced via AllThingsD: His company is definitely investing cash into a new e-reader that has a "bigger screen" and four colors. It's clearly intended as a competitor to the Amazon Kindle, which has a fairly diminutive screen more suited for book reading than magazine-or newspaper-style content, and can just display black and white or grayscale imagery. That News Corp would show interest in e-books is actually not much of a surprise--the end of the printed-paper news industry is being hastened by the failing economy and advancing tech, and if News Corp wants to remain on top of the game it's only natural to embrace the next big thing. You can imagine similar discussions going on in newspaper boardrooms when color printing became possible.

There's also news that Verizon was approached by manufacturers of e-books on the subject of integrating a wireless downloading system into their technology. That's a direct parallel to the in-built Sprint connection in the Kindle and Kindle 2 that makes them strong gadgets: if you want a new book when you're out and about, you can just download it. Speaking at the CTIA wireless tech fair, Verizon's man in charge of access to "non-phone devices," Tony Lewis, noted that five companies approached Verizon. He wouldn't name them, of course, but he did suggest that some may be interested in offering content that Amazon currently doesn't--like college textbooks.

AT&T has also entertained similar requests, and the company's consumer services head Ralph de la Vega notes that due to its similarities to other cell networks across the globe, AT&T is interesting to e-book makers who have their eye on global markets.

With all this attention beginning to swirl up around e-books, it looks like they'll evolve from being the niche, mainly U.S. centric gadgets they currently are into a global phenomenon pretty swiftly. All that's required it seems are advances in e-paper/e-ink technology and a clever business model--two things that News Corps financial attention can definitely help with.

[via Gizmodo, Electronista]

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2 Comments

  • NoahRobischon

    @John Thanks for this info. Did you notice that Amazon introduced $1.29 pricing to its music store yesterday, mirroring Apple's move?

  • John Smith

    While I am very interested in Kindle and more than willing to pay for books, paper or electronic, I am still waiting for these books to be DRM free. It's just so much easier and "thought-free" when I don't have to worry about DRM and how I use something. The higher the resolution, the better it is too. We are nowhere near true 300-dpi but that's a technical limitation at this point. I love the fact that there appears to be real competitions in this space with Verizon and others.

    Speaking of DRM-free, Amazon does have an awesome MP3 store that is DRM-free with a large selection and often good prices. It would be nice if they had the same thing with books.

    On the note about Amazon, I recently came across an interesting table that details the discounts on Amazon.

    It is at http://www.uberi.com

    Maybe someone will find it useful too.