More money for e-books, but market still slow

E-Ink has raised $150 million to date, but there aren't a lot of products out there consumers are buying.

Investors put in $16 million more into E-Ink in the latest effort to get the e-book ball rolling.

That brings the total that the small company has raised to $150 million, according to VentureWire. The market, however, has yet to take flight. Everyone loves the idea. E-books don't consume trees and you can carry several books at once. Some believe that college textbooks will go this way.

Still, no one seems to be buying them yet. The most prominent product to use the company's technology is the Sony Reader, an electronic book from the Japanese giant. Sony has sold some, but not a lot of these devices.

"I'd like to sell a hell of a lot more than we're selling," said Sony Electronics president Stan Glasgow in an interview in June.

E-books were tried in the 90s. NuvoMedia and SoftBook Press both came out with e-books back then. NuvoMedia aimed itself at consumers and SoftBook aimed at business users. Neither sold well. But, the companies lucked out. Gemstar-TV Guide International bought them both for around $300 million in 2000, when concept companies were selling for premiums.

NuvoMedia founder Martin Eberhard took the money, retired for a while, and then formed Tesla Motors. So something has come out of all of this.

E-Ink was founded in 1997 and grew out of the MIT Media Labs.

 

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