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February 9, 2009

Big Screen Ebook Has Big Plans

Plastic Logic, the manufacturer of an electronic book reader, will publicly announce partnership deals this Monday and adds that they will release several huge publications to its future device.

The company will create a 10.7-inch diagonal electronic exhibit, bigger than the Amazon Kindle or Sony Reader, two popular models. Plastic Logic hopes the device will be accessible early 2010.

Amazon is also anticipated to announce a newer version of its popular Kindle on Monday too.

Plastic Logic plans to exhibit a sample of its new device at a technology meeting on Tuesday.

Different from other products, the screen of the Plastic Logic Reader is large enough to resemble the appearance of a printed newspaper or magazine page.

The company wants the bigger screen to interest publishers who believe that decreasing a newspaper page into a smaller screen does not make for pleasurable reading.

Users will be able to receive updated versions of the paper over a broadband or wireless connection. But the company did not say how much the device would cost or the price of subscriptions to various publications.

Plastic Logic said it had struck deals with The Financial Times, the British business newspaper, and with LibreDigital, a content aggregator that offers electronic versions of The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post and other publications on the Internet.

On Monday, Plastic Logic also will announce a "direct relationship" with USA Today.

Plastic Logic also has relationships with Ingram Digital and Zinio, Hearst, IDG, Hachette Filipacchi, Playboy Enterprises and Ziff Davis.

Like the other ebook manufactures, Plastic Logic will establish an online place for customers to purchase books and periodicals. It will offer tools to both publishers and individuals that will let them arrange and advertise books on the website.

The New York Times Company has not stated if they will allow an electronic version of its newspaper to be obtainable to Plastic Logic customers and owners.

"We're talking with Plastic Logic and LibreDigital, but no decision has been made," Catherine Mathis, a company spokeswoman, stated.

The company had at first intended to release the gadget this year, but put it off because of the recession.

"The collapse in retail spending makes it really difficult to launch now," said Joe Eschbach, vice president of marketing.

The issue says Richard Doherty, an analyst with the Envisioneering Group, is not the appeal of the ebook, but in determining how a model geared towards businesses will succeed.

"I have not interviewed any owner of an ebook device who says that I should not have bought the thing," he said.

Image Courtesy Plastic Logic

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