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Elgan: 7 reasons why e-book readers make lousy gifts this year

November 27, 2009 06:00 AM ET

4. Giving an e-book readers may involve committing a person to a specific technology

When you buy someone a Kindle, you're committing that person (assuming they use it) to a specific and, in the case of Amazon.com, proprietary format for future book sales. That's really a decision each person should decide for themselves. It's like choosing a wireless carrier, or a college, for someone.

5. E-book readers are old and busted

Two years ago, the Amazon Kindle was the new hotness. This year, it's old and busted. The Kindle and its major competitors have pretty much the same screen technology. And everybody knows about them, so they're just not an exciting gift anymore.

6. Everyone who really wanted one already has one

It's well understood that e-book readers pay for themselves with the lower price for books. Anyone who really wants an e-book reader would have bought one by now. By buying one for someone who doesn't have one, you're forcing a gift on them that they have already decided they don't want.

7. One of the best choices is unavailable

Even if you're not persuaded by all my arguments, and insist on giving an e-book reader, you should know that one of the best options is unavailable. If you order a Barnes & Noble Nook reader today, for example, it will arrive on January 4.

There has been so much change and excitement in the e-book market since the last holiday season, you might be tempted to think this is the year for giving e-books. Resist the temptation. An e-book reader is one of the worst gadget gift ideas of the season.

Mike Elgan writes about technology and global tech culture. Contact Mike at mike.elgan@elgan.com, follow him on Twitter or his blog, The Raw Feed.

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