Rare editions: eBook readers in short supply this holiday season

Did you want an eBook reader for Christmas and are not getting one? You are not alone.

There is a terrible shortage of this sought-after gadget. But there's a silver lining for you after all: you might get a lower-priced version with richer-features in the months to come. Almost better you wait until after the holidays.

No one anticipated the increased popularity of the eBook reader---a small device that lets you read books, articles and other printed matter electronically on a screen. The biggest attraction is its small size, the large number of books it can store in its circuitry and the longevity of its battery because of a special screen. It's a perfect device to carry around.

According to Forrester Research, a technology consulting firm, sales of eBook Readers have tripled from 1 million in 2008 to an estimated 3 million in 2009. And the three main producers seemed to have not anticipated the demand.

Amazon's Kindle was the hottest item on sale across all categories in November. Barnes and Noble could just manage to meet the pre-ordered demand with its Nook. Sony,too, is rushing to meet the pre-ordered demand for its Daily Edition.

But the technology and the industry has yet to come to an equilibrium. Book publishers, for example, are yet to formulate a consistent policy on which books to release in electronic form. Different devices also mean different sets of books available for reading. What is assured is that since the demand has increased, prices will fall further with new features or even a complete redesign of the gadget that would include color screens and tablet-PC-like capabilities.

So don't be too disappointed in what you didn't get under the tree this year. As with most envelope-pushing consumer electronics, eBook readers are likely to come down in price and go up in power and features. Just remember the iPhone.
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