Popular only a few years ago, lately the idea of the emergence of a free e-reader has taken a beating. However, a new technology product coming out of the smartphone industry could give the idea a resurgence.
The theory was that e-ink e-reader technology would become so cheap that it wouldn’t cost all that much for an ebook retailer, telecom provider or other firm that benefits from the sale of ebooks to subsidize it for readers. Give away the razor handle, sell the blades.
A German company called txtr even came close last October, tantalizing dangling the possibility in front of the industry with a $13 e-reader called Beagle. The publicized price point was based on the company’s ability to get a major telecom provider to subsidize the cost of the device to get its users to use its data service to download ebooks.
Publishers salivated at the idea. After all, a free e-reader would leave more money in readers’ pockets with which to buy ebooks. There were many reasons to get excited at the prospect.
After a quiet period in which no such telecom partner was found, the Beagle died and with it the cheapest e-reader yet.
But yesterday, the idea of a free …read more

Via: Digital Book World