8 years ago
With Amazon’s Kindle, readers can squeeze hundreds of books into a device that is smaller than most hardcovers. For some, that’s not small enough.
Many people who want to read electronic books are discovering that they can do so on the smartphones that are already in their pockets — bringing a whole new meaning to “phone book.” And they like that they can save the $250 to $350 that they would otherwise spend on yet another gadget.
Americans, it turns out, are less willing than people in many other Western countries to pay for their online news, according to a new study by the Boston Consulting Group.
Among regular Internet users in the United States, 48 percent said in the survey, conducted in October, that they would pay to read news online, including on mobile devices. That result tied with Britain for the lowest figure among nine countries where Boston Consulting commissioned surveys. In several Western European countries, more than 60 percent said they would pay.
When, in late September, rumors surfaced that Comcast was trying to buy NBC Universal from General Electric, Wall Street reacted with dismay. Grandiose attempts to combine media production and distribution — programming and plumbing — are nothing new in the entertainment business, but they almost always end in disappointment. Witness AOL Time Warner. So what in the world could be prompting the Comcast chief executive, Brian Roberts, to start down this accursed path?
I fear that I’m to blame.
A few months ago, while stalking the aisles of my local Best Buy, I gave in to techno-temptation. I bought a Blu-ray player. What I didn’t realize until I unpacked the gadget was that it does a lot more than just spin high-definition discs. It is, as they say, Web-enabled. As soon as I plugged it into an outlet in my living room, its built-in WiFi antenna sniffed out my home network and logged on. The Blu-ray player became a gateway between the Internet and my television set