So, about two years ago we were at Book Expo America, in L.A., when COOL-er launched their eReader. They had a booth with a bunch of Eastern block models in bikinis (sorry we couldn’t find any for the above picture so we settled on Asian prototypes – they seem to go better with a tech topic, anyway) demoing the brand new product. The expo floor, however, was pretty chilly (maybe it was part of the brand strategy – COOL-er…get it?) and these babes were standing there shivering, covered in Czech goose pimples. Ignoring their chattering teeth and tan lines, we asked for a demo and, to our shock and dismay (not really), we quickly discovered that they didn’t know how to work the devices proficiently. We couldn’t tell if they were just a wee bit light on their tech skills or if the eReader was incredibly buggy.
As it turns out, this little experience was kinda prophetic ‘cause, as of this week, the COOL-er eReader is history. InReader, the maker of COOL-er, has apparently gone into liquidation. No amount of swimsuit beauties could’ve possibly prepared the company for the bath it was about to take, in the wake of the Apple iPad’s immaculate conception.
Yup, in the aftermath of the launch of the now ubiquitous tablet, the eReader landscape has truly been leveled – kind of like after a thermonuclear blast. The utter devastation that has been unleashed over the last couple of months has truly been seismic – in Richter terms, the equivalent of roughly 15.0 gigatons of TNT. In other words, a 10.0. Since today, 07/16/10, is the 65th anniversary of the “Trinity” test – the very first atomic explosion – here, in all its evil, terrifying beauty, is what a 15 megaton blast looks like…
In our last blog we examined how Kindle and nook are now duking it out in a price was that’s taken the devices below the $200 mark, in order to remain competitive. That was just the beginning. Besides COOL-er’s flaming demise, since our last post, the following has transpired.
The venerable and most honorable Sony Corporation has very, very quietly dropped the prices on all of its eReaders. The Daily Edition is now $299; the Touch Edition, $169; and the Pocket Edition, $149. It’s interesting to note that, according to Publishers’ Weekly, Sony had recently vehemently denied that there would be any price adjustments. Guess a store wide sale is a more sensible alternative to committing harakiri.
But wait, there’s more. Plastic Logic, the company that makes the new Que eReader, isn’t shipping any. It has cancelled and stopped taking all pre-orders for the device. Maybe that’s because the 4GB version of the Que was priced at $650? Oops! Talk about going against the tide. Their tagline – “Designed for the way you do business.” – couldn’t have been more ill conceived. Maybe they meant, “Designed for the way Donald Trump does business.”
And finally, it seems that the only thing that could’ve possibly saved the newish Skiff Reader from oblivion, and help it compete with the iPad, Kindle and Nook, is the mega bucks of Rupert Murdoch. News Corp., it was recently announced, has acquired Skiff, LLC. Good luck with that, mate.
So, there you have it. We expect a lot more of this type of news in the upcoming months, weeks, days, minutes, seconds, and even nano seconds. This industry’s moving so fast the very parameters of time and space are being redefined. So hang on for the ride. We are.
Although it may or may not be a non-sequitur, we’ll leave you for now with the legendary Cramps’ Bikini Girls with Machine Guns. In the parallel universe we sometimes visit, it somewhat makes sense.
Sayonara. We love you long time.