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I recently read an article on Fortune.com by Michael Copeland titled, ‘The end of paper‘ and was delighted. It just reaffirmed my thoughts in terms of the direction I predict the industry will take. The article sums up just how you may be reading your newspaper or your book on an e-paper device in the near future. A sleek, lightweight, portable e-reader is slowly becoming an attractive alternative to the hardcover tomes. The excitement, for me, is around the rapid pace at which this transformation is taking place.

Several companies, including giants like HP, Fujitsu and startups such as Polymer Vision, FirstPaper and Plastic Logic are developing new versions of e-reader addressing the limitations of the current devices available in the market. The new e-readers feature larger screen, wireless connectivity, longer battery life, and touch screen functionality for easy navigation. In short, the e-reader is all set to take…well…reading to a completely new level.

Not only does it come packed with a host of advantages, the e-Books are a cost-effective, durable way to go. What we can look forward to in the near future is flexible display technology that will allow you to fold your screen small enough to slip into your pocket. Apart from Plastic Logic, other players including HP, LG Display and Polymer Vision are working on developing their own versions.

Though e-book sales are still a small percentage of sales compared to print sales, I believe we are closer to the tipping point than ever before. The signs all indicate that we are going in the right direction. Publishers need to be aware of all these advancements and be ready when e-sales take over from print. They need to experiment and see how best to make their business models work in the electronic world.

On another equally uplifting note, we will have more trees thanks to e-books and perhaps do more than our bit for global warming.