Papering over the cracks

October 26, 2006

Whenever I try to tell people how the traditional book is on the way out and we’ll all be reading very differently a lot sooner than people think, the standard response is that people like traditional books, they like the look and feel, and nothing will ever substitute for that.

Well, sorry, but it will. I believe that a majority of people will switch to reading ebooks very quickly once the technology closes the look and feel gap between trad books and eReaders. And one of the key advances in this is electronic paper: a neutrally coloured, flicker- and glow-free display visible at wide angles with very low power consumption. This has been improving for a while – E Ink’s imaging film is the stuff used in Sony’s Reader and others. The tech specs are lovely, and if it’s not quite identical to paper yet, it soon will be.

The advent of true electronic paper draws a little closer with Brit boffins Plastic Logic’s announcement of 150ppi and 100ppi fully flexible active-matrix displays using E Ink Imaging Film.

Plastic Logic Display

Stick a few sheets of that between soft or hard covers, and what have you got? Oh look, a book.

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