Newspapers are at the forefront of e-paper product trials. Since these readers are expected to sell for a relatively low cost and electronic editions eliminate printing costs, publishers reportedly are exploring giving devices away with an annual subscription.
Earlier this year, a Belgian financial newspaper, De Tijd, distributed hundreds of e-paper readers (pictured) produced by iRex Technologies to subscribers, free of charge, in a test of the medium. It is considering making electronic versions of the newspaper available to all readers, depending on feedback from the test program.
In the United States, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and Houston Chronicle are among the papers believed to be planning similar tests.
E-books are once again being talked about as on the verge of rapid growth, partly due to e-paper making readers more desirable, but also owing to trends in the use of PDAs and cell phones with larger displays.
Early indications of the impact e-paper may have on this sector will come from Sony Electronics. It announced an agreement with Borders to make the Sony Reader available through about 200 Borders stores nationwide, along with its own Sony Style stores. The device is built around an electronic paper display produced using E-Ink technology.
Compared to books, interest in digital editions of printed magazines doesn’t seem to be as tied to the availability of special reader devices that mimic the printed format. Publishers have embraced the format chiefly for cost savings, but readers apparently like the user experience.
Texterity Inc., a provider of digital magazine solutions, released the results of a BPA-certified survey it completed of readership habits and demographic data for digital magazine readers. Feedback was received from some 7,000 respondents, including readers of consumer and business-to-business publications.
The survey found that more than 85 percent of respondents are “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with the digital editions they receive. Perhaps more significant, 91 percent reported taking action as a result of reading an ad.