Government Technology
By Ulf Wolf: Citizen engagement and responsibility in the digital age.

The E-Newspaper

April 20, 2009 By

Another interesting article just surfaced to underscore the near enough inevitable: print news is edging toward the exit.

On Friday April 17, the BBC News reported that electronic book readers may in fact become tomorrow's primary outlet for reported news.

And I would tend to agree. While online news (such as you read on your personal computer) naturally serves its purpose, most of us cannot put the screen in our briefcase and read it on the bus (the one good thing about the paper variety of news). You can, however, do precisely that with an electronic book reader.

And not only that, the electronic book reader is very comfortable on the eyes, much more so--in my not so humble opinion--than the computer screen. Also, you are not liable to run out of power mid-article, for the new generation electronic book readers utilize digital ink, which only draws power when the page is refreshed, so battery life is measured no longer in hours but in page turns.

Sony's reader, for example, can turn 7,500 pages on one charge. Amazon's Kindle II is in the same league

Kindle News

Amazon has never been slow to market with anything, and newspapers on the eBook reader is no exception.

Today you can buy monthly Kindle subscriptions to The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, Financial Times, Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle, The International Herald Tribune, Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Time, and The Times (London), all for around $10 a month.

Each of these papers can download automatically to your Kindle overnight, so at breakfast, it's available to read. And no fighting your dog for it either.

Add to that the ability to cut and paste the articles you find of interest and email them to yourself, and the ability to clarify any words through instant lookup in the built-in dictionary, and the electronic readers grows more and more compelling as a news delivery mechanism.

And think of all the trees you're saving. In fact, I think the writing is on the 6-inch diagonal screen.

The only drawback at this time is price. The Kindle, for example, does not come cheap, roughly $350.

But that, as the BBC News article points out, is a work in progress.


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