Latest E-Readers Come From Samsung, Lacking a Little Content

Comes to Market With Google Books, but Promises More Soon

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Samsung execs believe that if they make the reader, the content will come.
Samsung execs believe that if they make the reader, the content will come.
LAS VEGAS ( -- Does the world need another e-reader? Samsung thinks so. In addition to the flashy 3-D TVs and Blu-ray players that Samsung rolled out at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the company has also jumped into the e-reader fray with two models sporting features such as a stylus pen for writing and the ability to share content wirelessly.

Both the E6 and bigger E101 ($400 and $700, respectively) will go on sale early this year, but one key component is missing: content. Initially, Samsung's e-readers will only have access to Google Books, mostly comprising out-of-print titles and books in the public domain.

Why put an expensive reader in the market without content? Samsung execs believe that if they make the reader, the content will come. Samsung spokesman Jason Redmond said that with Amazon 's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook and Sony's e-readers in the market, Samsung would be able to reach deals with publishers.

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And consumer demand for devices and e-books alike seems to be growing. A new Parks Associates report says 7% of those with broadband connections at home are considering buying an e-reader in the next 12 months. Amazon , which has been touting the success of the Kindle but providing no solid numbers, said that on Christmas Day its digital book sales exceeded physical book sales -- a first.

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Samsung has also launched its own app store, "Samsung Apps," which now sells applications for TVs and Blu-ray players but will be adapted to Samsung's e-readers as well, allowing the company to sell books and deliver them wirelessly.

Mr. Redmond kept mum, however, on the economics; Amazon keeps as much as 70% of newspaper sales revenue, and publishers are eager to license competitors on better terms. Last month Plastic Logic and Sony were already spotted cozying up to publishers by offering better cuts of revenue and more information on consumers.

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