May 07, 2009, 8:16 AM — Did you pre-order your Kindle DX yet? Or were you holding out to see what the rumored Hearst hardware is going to look like? Well it seems things are going to get even more complicated, as it now looks like Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. wants in on this new e-reader buzz, too.
According to Electronista, Murdoch's main focus is getting paid content to work (News Corp.'s Wall Street Journal is one of the few successful paid-content models on the web) and he sees having a hardware component critical to that goal. Last month a News Corp. spokesman told All Things Digital that they are considering "making an investment in a company working on e-reader technologies." Details on the device itself were pretty sketchy, but a four-color display was mentioned.
My take? This idea of different publishers supporting different hardware is just ludicrous. Imagine a future where if you want to read the Houston Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times you'll need to shell out $1,000 on three different e-readers and carry the stack of them around with you. Not likely, is it? There's been a lot of buzz about e-readers saving newspapers lately, but this surely isn't the way to do it. What we need (assuming for the sake of argument that paid subscriptions delivered on a handheld device will solve any of the newspapers' woes) is one device, at least partially subsidized, that can read any newspaper subscription.
What do you think? Can e-readers save newspapers? Would you buy an e-reader in order to read only the publications of one periodical publishing company? Please leave a comment with your thoughts.