Would you buy a foldable e-reader if it were launched? Do you expect it to open like a real book?
The moment I think about a foldable Kindle or Kobo e-reader, I immediately imagine it opening like a paper book. The prototype foldable device revealed by E-Ink in 2020 is just like that.
Will foldable e-readers have a chance to become mainstream products? I doubt so. E-readers are a different breed of mobile devices than tablets or smartphones. And customers have different expectations.
You won’t compare the foldable Kindle to the foldable iPad or Amazon Fire. You will compare it to your previous Kindle. And you will compare it to the paper book.
The idea of a foldable e-reader being one step closer to a paper book is nice but it doesn’t make much sense. Why do we still have to compare e-readers to paper books? Book lovers who still reject electronic books won’t fall in love with them just because they could see their e-readers opening like a good old paperback.
An electronic device will never resemble a print book. It’s not about looks. It’s about the feel. You won’t feel the texture of the paper, and you won’t feel the smell of an old library or a leather-bound classic novel.
And then comes the biggest problem – the size.
Do you expect the foldable e-reader to feature a single page no smaller than 6 inches? Then imagine you open it: you have two 6-inch pages one by one. This device, when opened, will be huge and heavy, even with an edge-to-edge front. Something like a 10 or 12-inch iPad. And all that just to read a novel. Say “bye” to one-handed reading.
I know, paper books are heavier. But, on the other hand, why should we get rid of the biggest benefit of e-readers: the unbearable lightness of reading? Users embrace e-readers not because of nostalgia but convenience. You can have hundreds of books packed into a lightweight object the size of a page from a paperback book.
There is another solution. But it’s possible only if you accept a single page to be much smaller than 6 inches. But then the idea of a foldable e-reader opening like a real book is gone.
The opened e-reader will be too small to let you read in a landscape two-page mode. Technically, you could reduce the font size. Reduce the font size from the one I use for years in my current e-reader?
Most probably, you will switch to a portrait mode, and use the device the same way as your current e-reader. Why foldable and so expensive, then?
I have made two size visualizations to prove my point. You can read more about my doubts regarding a foldable e-reader.
What should a perfect e-reader look like? I have imagined the next-generation Kindle Paperwhite as a fully symmetric device with a wider bezel to incorporate hard-press page-turn buttons and adjustable warm light tone.
A concept of a foldable Kindle – size 6″ × 2
A concept of a foldable Kindle – size 6″
Keep exploring. Here are other posts for Kindle users:
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