March 9, 2009

Hearst's eReader

Those of us who have been tracking the eReader and ePaper area for years will remember Hearst's early activity in this area and investment in E-Ink among others. 

Then for a long time they went quiet and we'd either forgot about them or assumed they'd lost interest. 

Well, they're back covered by CNN Money / Fortune in their article: Hearst to launch a wireless e-reader

I do wonder what the newspapers are thinking. The ones that aren't doing anything or moving, and the ones who are.

Do Hearst think this is the long-term solution and they are moving early or is this a shorter-term attempt to combat rising costs and falling relevancy.

If you were surprised when Amazon as a major on-line book retailer went into the hardware business with the Kindle, what do you think about a newspaper empire itself getting into the hardware business?

They say:
"What Hearst and its partners plan to do is sell the e-readers to publishers and to take a cut of the revenue derived from selling magazines and newspapers on these devices. The company will, however, leave it to the publishers to develop their own branding and payment models."
Does this make sense? Do they have enough content of there own to offer a closed system with enough value, or will they offer an open system to all comers with content - including their direct competitors?

As for the device it seems their "design center" will be different and around newspapers and magazines, and less around books and office documents and blogs, although no doubt it will be able to read those content types also.

Hearst is short in details, so we'll have to wait.

Why not speculate meantime though :-)
- based on a large, thin, flexible E-Ink display from Plastic Logic

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