Screen breakage is not the most common complaint

“Screen breakage is the number one complaint with today’s e-reader technology. Our display can take a lot of rough and tumble,” says Joe Eschbach of Plastic Logic.

Why don’t I believe that?

Perhaps because I’ve never once seen someone complain about an ebook reader screen breaking.  Sure, I don’t work for a company making a much-hyped reader like Joe Eschbach does, but I do read a lot about ebook readers.

A common complaint is that they are ridiculously expensive, rivaled only by the ridiculous expense of the ebooks themselves.  Also, they don’t really do anything except allow you to read things, and who wants to carry around yet another device that only does one thing, even if it does it better than anything else?

It sounds like Plastic Logic has some really cool technology, but a poor understanding of what the market wants, and how to serve it.  A magazine-sized ebook reader is even harder to carry around than the smaller Sony Reader or Amazon Kindle, making one of the most common complaints even worse.

It’s disappointing that New Scientist actually took the time to publish this article, which reads like a press release from Plastic Logic more than a scientific article.

Article: Flexible electronic books to hit market soon – tech – 23 February 2009 – New Scientist.

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2 thoughts on “Screen breakage is not the most common complaint”

  1. I had an ereader on which the screen broke, and it was a nightmare. Those screens are really expensive, and really fragile. I managed to get my money back and get a different device, but it was a long, long headache, and I now live in fear of screen breakage.

    I don’t think Joe is phrasing it quite right, but I could see that concern being the number one complaint of ereader *owners*. Price and functionality, as you mentioned, seem to me to be concerns that potential ereader *buyers* would have, but those who’ve already bought a device know the score on those issues.

    As for who would want to carry around a device that only reads, the answer is anybody who already carries a book with them. The difference is that paper books can only read one book: even less functionality.

  2. Aha! The first time I’ve ever heard someone complain about a broken screen!

    Not to make light of your difficulties, which I can understand must have been frustrating. But I took his point to be that the fear of screen breakage is what’s keeping the ereader from becoming as ubiquitous as the mobile phone, and I think that couldn’t be further from the truth.

    And you’re right – if you always carry a book, there are great advantages to replacing it with an ereader. But is this convenience worth $300+? Until it is, it’s just another thing to carry.

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