Ebook v. Tablet PC: Who cares?

An ebook price war erupted between Amazon and Barnes & Noble last week, each hoping to pick off literate consumers who find iPad too pricey.

My response to this ebook ballyhoo and hoopla is folderol and balderdash. Ereaders are likely to be this year’s version of personal navigation device (PND), which enjoyed their own short-lived ballyhoo and hoopla period but have been replaced by new generations of smart and superphones equipped with cell-assisted GPS.

Simply put: buying a dedicated ereader just makes no sense, financially or functionally.

Yes, iPad is more than twice as expensive as a Kindle, Nook or Border’s new Kobo ereader. But this is temporary. Next-gen iPad’s are likely do more for less – that’s the way it’s gone historically for both iPod and iPhone. And once Android-powered tabs show up later this year, prices will drop even more, further shrinking the ereader-tab PC price differential.

But you may not need either an ereader or a tab PC to eread – you likely have one already: there are multiple ereader apps, including Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Kobo for iPhone/iPod Touch, Android, and BlackBerry. With their 3.5 to 4.3-inch screens, superphones make super ereaders.

It goes without saying, of course (than why am I saying it?) that tab PCs and smartphones do a lot more than serve as a portable library, certainly enough more to justify their higher price tag.

Ereaders have definitely sparked a revolution in how people acquire and read books. Thanks, Amazon! But already purchased smartphones and tab PCs are better.

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