Will Recession Help E-Books Emerge?

Last Updated Feb 9, 2009 2:46 PM EST

There's plenty of news on the eBook front these days: The flood of new material available both for the Kindle-type devices and the smaller mobile units, courtesy of Google, seems likely to help eBooks reach a tipping point this year, despite the economic downturn. Readers are not going to stop reading, but they may reduce spending for books. (One recent report documented increased use of libraries nationwide.)

The increasing competition among companies to secure a foothold in this emerging market should drive the cost of eReaders down, while the price of eBooks themselves is falling, courtesy of the work done by Smashwords and others.

And, with millions of people out of work, Americans have more time to read than any time in the past quarter century. All of which indicates 2009 may be the year that electronic books make their breakthrough.

  • David Weir

    David Weir is a veteran journalist who has worked at Rolling Stone, California, Mother Jones, Business 2.0, SunDance, the Stanford Social Innovation Review, MyWire, 7x7, and the Center for Investigative Reporting, which he cofounded in 1977. He’s also been a content executive at KQED, Wired Digital, Salon.com, and Excite@Home. David has published hundreds of articles and three books,including "Raising Hell: How the Center for Investigative Reporting Gets Its Story," and has been teaching journalism for more than 20 years at U.C. Berkeley, San Francisco State University, and Stanford.