Saturday, October 24, 2009

eReaders Competition Heats Up

Posted by Ann Roberts at 11:58 AM
I know I was originally hesitant to join the eReader craze...but when I did I went whole hog. I first started with eReader/Fictionwise on my iPod (Sept 2008 - Feb 2009) then purchased a Kindle2 (Feb 2009 - TODAY). But the Barnes and Noble "nook" really has my attention.

The Press There is a lot of information and comparison about the nook and Amazon's response.

Here are some of the things that I really like about the nook:
  1. Ability to lend books to friends. BN ebooks can be loaned to friends for up to 14 days. Is 14 days enough? Maybe/Maybe not but it is better than not be able to lend them. Or requiring that all devices are on the same account (read "credit card"). Heck, my husband and I don't share the same credit card...and we generally don't read the same books.
  2. WiFi! This isn't that important to me...I haven't had any trouble with my Kindle 3G network but I could see where it would be a concern if you can't access Kindle's Whispernet.
  3. A significant portion of the device isn't taken up with a keyboard I don't use often. And I really hate the keys on the Kindle...could they have made them any harder to see and use?
  4. "nook" offers the same Download Sample feature as Amazon. I love this feature! It has saved me from reading a book I had read previously.
  5. BN offers readers for the iPod AND Blackberry. I'm planning on getting the new Storm2 when it comes out (hopefully this week). Since I have the iPod Touch, I have to be connected to a WiFi network in order to get a new book. Having eReaders on my Blackberry should give me more flexibility.
  6. I like the community features that BN has built. I belong to several book communities (BookCrossing, GoodReadsm, and Facebook) and now BN. Be sure to friend me!
  7. Ability to touch and feel the "nook" before buying! I think this will give BN a significant advantage. I waited a while before buying the Kindle because I couldn't see and touch it first. Because of that I have offered to show my Kindle to others in the local area who want to see it and I've been happy to show it off.
I downloaded the BN ereader for the iPod Touch. Reading on my iPod is generally a pain but will work in a pinch. First, it means that I can't plug my iPod in to my home stereo system AND read at the same time. Second, the battery life on the iPod when reading is about 4 hours or less. So far I've found 2 books that are available in eBook format at BN that haven't been available at Amazon. That will probably mean that I continue to use multiple readers but will need to stick with the Kindle as my primary. (I can't afford to purchase the "nook" at this point.)

Both Kindle and "nook" have opportunities for improvement:
  • Amazon needs to get with the program and find a way to enable the sharing of books. eBook readers want to be able to share books just like they do their paper copies. I suggested to Amazon earlier this year that they set up a way to manage the sharing to eliminate piracy concerns. Looks like BN beat them to the punch.
  • Both Amazon and BN need to do a better job of integrating ebooks and wishlists. When I hear about a future release I want to add it to my wishlist...preferrably in the ebook format (since that is all I read these days). If I have to add it in paper format, I want you to tell me when the ebook format comes available. Amazon seems to do a better job of putting "to be released" books on their website. I wasn't able to find a couple of future release books on the BN site.
  • When I got to the end of the sample on the BN iPod reader, there wasn't an option to "Buy Now." I had to go to the Amazon site, and search for the book. It didn't take me directly to the book I was reading. And it didn't appear that I could access any of my BN Wishlists. It made purchasing the book much more difficult. This issue may be limited to the reader and may be better on the "nook" but it is still a huge opportunity for improvement.
  • Pricing. I'm still amazed at the price for eBooks. Really??? You don't have to send them to be printed and don't have to pay for paper and shipping but the prices aren't SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper. And if a book is available in hardcopy and paperback why does it seem that the ebook price is based on the hardback version? A very quick comparison seemed to show that Amazon's prices are better than BN's prices. It looks like Amazon's prices are about the same as BN's member prices. (I let my BN membership lapse when I started reading eBooks.) Hopefully, we'll see that start to change as competition heats up!
I definitely have "nook" envy! But I can't see buying another eBook reader at this time.

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