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E-books: The end of paper?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Ask C.T. Liu about future growth engines for his company, LCD maker AU Optronics, and he whips out his Kindle e-book in lieu of an answer, reports Reuters from Taipei, Taiwan.

Strong reception for the Kindle, the brainchild of web retailer Amazon, is attracting a growing number of developers looking to tap interest in devices that let consumers read newspapers, magazines and books in a digital form that updates wirelessly and saves paper.

Sony Corp has joined the paperless wave with its own e-readers, partnering with Google to offer public domain books that are no longer protected by copyright.

Other believers in the dawn of a paperless age include Taiwan’s Netronix, which is making similar models with touch screens, and Dutch Polymer Vision, set to soon introduce a pocket e-reader with rollable displays. Inc’s Kindles have proved a hit since their launch in 2007. Citigroup estimated the US online retailer sold a half-million Kindles in 2008, about one-third more than the number of iPods sold by Apple in its first year.

Some critics argue that e-books could become the victim of their own success if cellphone makers take notice and start to incorporate the newer LCD technology into their own models and include similar reading applications.