The rumors are swarming (if not leaked) that the new Kindle will be somewhat improved and cheaper   . So we wait for the February 9th announcement with baited breath. In the meantime there is a new reader called an eSlick by Foxit Software throwing it’s little hat in the ring. It claims that it will be cheaper than either the Kindle or the Sony reader (both of which have priced me out of the ebook market) however cheap to Foxit, at this point, means $230..ehh hem, for what?

From what I can tell the eSlick is utilitarian in both form and function. It is not particularly good looking, it has no wifi, it simply views (actually that would be “converts”, yeah an extra step) pdf , TXT and plays MP3 files. Atleast Sony and Amazon give you easy access to a (expensive) bookstore to download your books from. I want to be optimistic I really do but it seems to me that these business models are wrong. Why are these dag blasted things so expensive at every turn? Certainly the cost of production is rather low, we are familiar with the parts. I say suck me in with a lower cost for the reader itself…say $100…and I’ll pay a price for ebooks. Not that I understand the rationale behind the price of the ebook either. As it is, in this economy, I find myself buying paperbacks instead of hardbacks and using my public library with increased frequency and I am certain that I am not alone. Just look at the hardback collection at Costco, it has been dwarfed by the paperbacks, they cater to what people will buy. An ebook is far less involved than a paper book in terms of production and I am to buy it for near the hardback price! Phooey.

I want to evangelize the joys of the ebook, I really do, but for now I sit on my wallet and wince in the Sony-Kindle-eSlick (yeah I’ll add the iRex iLiad for the purists but please, $700? It was dead in the water before it began) direction. Sigh.