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Reading Books on Digital Screens

Techstination feature for Thursday, May 17, 2001

Reading books on digital screens. I'm Fred Fishkin with Bloomberg Bootcamp. Sales have hardly been spectacular for electronic book devices. And it may take quite a while for a mass market to develop... for this kind of thing. The best and priciest dedicated readers are being marketed by RCA... .where Dave Arland says... .

"We believe that there is a market for it. We're in it for the long haul. We've started out with products that are extremely advanced for what they do. The screen resolution on the black and white model is about six times that of a typical Palm PDA device."

The black and white paper back book sized RCA eBook sells for about 300 dollars. The larger, color model is nearly 700. I found the screens readable and there's a real coolness factor when you flip the cover open and the page appears instantly. But it's a lot of money to pay for a single function device. Not including calendar or address book functions... says Arland... was based on surveys of readers...

"And they told us, if you can put twenty books in my hand, I don't need to have a calendar, I don't need to have a cell phone, I don't need to have all these other features. I would really like to have something like this that's electronic that I can read in my hand."

That's the big advantage to the eBook concept. The ability to store so many books in such a small package. The search functions have a big advantage over traditional books as well. Page two on the subject in my next report. Bootcamp, I'm Fred Fishkin, Bloomberg Radio.