Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that several companies plan to introduce digital newspaper readers by the end of the year with screens roughly the size of a standard sheet of paper to present much of the editorial and advertising content of traditional periodicals in generally the same format as they appear in print. Publishers hope the new readers may be a way to get consumers to pay for those periodicals — something they have been reluctant to do on the Web — while allowing publishers to save millions on the cost of printing and distributing their publications, at precisely a time when their businesses are under historic levels of pressure from the loss of readers and advertising. 'We are looking at this with a great deal of interest,' said John Ridding, the chief executive of the 121-year-old British newspaper The Financial Times. 'The severe double whammy of the recession and the structural shift to the Internet has created an urgency that has rightly focused attention on these devices.' The new tablets will start with some serious shortcomings: the screens, which are currently in the Kindle and Sony Reader, display no color or video and update images at a slower rate than traditional computer screens. But many think the E-ink readers are simply too little, too late and have not appeared in time to save the troubled realm of print media. 'If these devices had been ready for the general consumer market five years ago, we probably could have taken advantage of them quickly,' said Roger Fidler, the program director for digital publishing at the University of Missouri, Columbia. 'Now the earliest we might see large-scale consumer adoption is next year, and unlike the iPod it's going to be a slower process migrating people from print to the device.'"