I can assure you, this will not be what it looks like.

Hearst developing its own e-reader, for periodicals – CNET News — Apparently the company is not losing ENOUGH money with the SF Chronicle and the Seattle P-I, so it has decided to get into the miserable e-book business. Hopefully, for the sake of Hearst Co., this will just be a private label deal that will not affect the bottom line. Somehow, though, I suspect they will still lose money with this turkey.

Hearst, one of the largest media conglomerates in the world, announced on Friday that it has developed an electronic reader for newspapers and magazines, the way Amazon.com’s new Kindle does for books.

The news, first reported by Fortune magazine, is really significant, as Hearst owns about 16 daily and 49 weekly newspapers, and has a strong influence on hundreds of magazines. Examples of those include the San Francisco Chronicle, Oprah Winfrey’s O, and Cosmopolitan.

It’s unclear if the device Hearst has been working on has anything to do with the eReader that Plastic Logic unveiled recently, but its principle seems the same. It’s a handheld device used to read digital content, much like the Kindle. The main difference would be that Hearst’s e-reader has a much larger size to accommodate the format of newspapers and magazines.

It’s also speculated that Hearst’s e-reader is going to be physically flexible and even foldable. The first version would come in black and white, with a later model coming in color and even with video playback capability.

  1. Buzz says:

    The prototypical illustration is certainly not what future eReaders will look like, but it does point to some evolving certainties. Color, thin, flexible–those are pretty much guaranteed.

    Looking like a paper newspaper? Not likely. This blog page, for instance, comes closer to what future graphic layouts will hold.

    Reading is different from watching time-based media, but future readers will handle both.

  2. sargasso says:

    I want my eReader to use open source software, to be free of tethered subscription plans and machine washable.

  3. mpdejong says:

    The future of news as we know it will change radically.

    Some of you may already know EPIC 2014/2015. Is this scenario unrealistic?

    Check out: http://epic.makingithappen.co.uk/

  4. MikeN says:

    First you bash them for not adapting to new technology, now this…

  5. ECA says:

    Another, DRM, copy protected, format limited, PIECE OF CRAP..
    It will solve 1 problem, What to do with the paper AFTER its READ..
    And create a NEW one, where the paper I USED to line the bird cage..

  6. OvenMaster says:

    I’d like to know what the people who work at the Hearst-owned and under-threat-of-closure San Francisco Chronicle think of this.

  7. #4 MikeN — I have never bashed them over new technologies. I complain about not giving readers what they want in a newspaper and the fact that they continue to cheapen the product. This idea is out and out idiotic.

  8. faxon says:

    I’m gonna market the e reader for bird cage liners.

  9. hhopper says:

    I get a kick out of the fact that so many people are bashing e-readers yet they’re selling like hot-cakes. Sure the books you buy online have DRM but the e-readers will also handle literally millions of books that are free. I love my Kindle. It has whatever newspaper I want to read ready to go every morning when I get up.

  10. jbenson2 says:

    Newspaper Death Watch: now that is a legitimate case of the Fairness Doctrine in action.

    Let the market speak loud and clear.

    Hey, NY Times, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

  11. So much for the news
    Welcome to modern times and the internet
    Wonder if they will give themselves huge bonuses

  12. ECA says:

    They will require a 1-5 years subscription, and you cant cancel.
    the NEW format wont work with ANY OTHER format/media/TXT/MP3 anything EXCEPT from the newspaper.
    this also has nothing to do with your INTERNET connection, as you will PROBABLY NEED ONE, which adds to your cost. and High speed will be required. EVEN if you subscribe to CELLPHONE internet, that will add MORE charges to your phone service(probably)..

    in other words, THEY ARE GOING TO SCREW THEMSELVES…into the ground..

  13. DJ says:

    I already own 2 eReaders, My Dell laptop and my AT&T Tilt. Why would I buy another?

    [Electronic ink is SO much easier on the eyes than either CRTs or LCDs. – ed.]

  14. Nimby says:

    [Duplicate comment deleted. Please don’t double post! – ed.]

  15. Nimby says:

    Personally, I’m pleased to see them at least trying a new idea. I expect they will fail but that’s how progress is made. I just hope somebody comes up with something affordable, convenient with a larger viewing surface (for newspapers and periodicals) and that someone realizes it shouldn’t cost as much for an e-book as it does for a paper book. And god save us if Amazon becomes the iTunes of e-books. They’ve shown a propensity to overcharge for the books AND the reader. Amazon, like Apple, will mine the public’s wallet until the ore runs dry and competition forces them to ease up on prices and DRM.

    Did you see this?

  16. BubbaRay says:

    I wonder when the first Blackberry will arrive with e-reader capability. That would be OK.

  17. Glenn E. says:

    All you’re likely to get with this form of ereader is, serial access of each issue. IOWs. First to last page, no searches. Can’t skip the ads. Maybe restricted sectional access. But I’m sure they won’t let you look for only those articles that you’re interested in. And you’ll still have to find the 2nd half of each article, that starts on each section’s first page, among the sections back pages. Bordered by lot of ads. The only thing these ereaders will eliminate is the paper medium. Not the outdated layouts.

  18. Paddy-O says:

    Lots of early car companies failed in the early years. It’s the nature of business. Someone will get it right.

  19. RBG says:

    9 hhopper
    Electronic readers so obviously need to be small, thin, color, border-less, touch screen devices that I won’t be buying one until that industry can get its act together.

    I take it you also own these other products that sold like hot-cakes: The Clapper, Pet Rock, The Pocket Fisherman, Chia Pet, Billy the Big Mouth Bass, The Flowbee, Can opener in a can.


  20. smartalix says:

    You guys do know that for years Hearst Interactive Media has been a major financial supporter of the company e-Ink?

  21. hhopper says:


    Give me a break! I know you were tongue in cheek, but all the devices you mentioned were ridiculous novelty items. E-readers are here to stay… and they will evolve into exactly what you’re talking about. However, tell me how many times you tossed a novel away because it wasn’t in color. Har! Electronic ink is easy on the eyes. My eyes get burned out reading a computer screen. Electronic ink is like reading a printed page. Who needs color for 90% of what you read?

  22. echeola says:

    This makes sense for Hearst to get it’s publications on e-readers. I heard recently that distribution would be cheaper for the NYT to give away Kindles with each two year subscription. Why not a model like this. Maybe that is what Hearst is thinking.

  23. DJ says:

    Hey John. Can you explain to me why anyone who owns a laptop would buy a so-called eReader? I think the whole idea is a joke and I’m genuinely surprised by the apparent acceptance from your readers that I see expressed in the above comments. What am I missing??

  24. RBG says:

    23. hhopper

    Now let me take you into the far, far distant future. Where movies and television and periodicals and digital pix and illustrations and webzines and newspapers and magazines and books are in… color.


  25. smartalix says:


    You have obviously never seen or used an e-ink display. There is a significant eyestrain difference between a backlit image and a reflective image.

  26. DJ says:


    Uh, well… between work, personal email, half a dozen newspapers a day and blogs like this, I spend about 12 hours a day reading my laptop with no apparent problems, unless that’s what made my hair fall out! If I get a Kindle will my hair grow back???


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