Why eReader for BlackBerry is a fail


I had really high hopes for the eReader (beta) for BlackBerry which I have been testing on my BlackBerry Bold. At first glance the layout is decent and I had no trouble scrolling around and reading the text. The smaller display screen isn’t going to give paper books or the larger screen Kindle a run for their money any time soon – but I was hopeful that I’d at least have a decent backup book reader for when I didn’t have a paper book or the Kindle.

Unfortunately ignoring the eReader’s many annoyances – starting with the price of books (some books were nearly twice that of the Kindle’s price) to the dog slow download speeds was nearly impossible.

The first problem with the eReader is pricing.

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley

This book is priced at $14.27 on the Kindle versus $23.36 on eReader (more rebates are available for eReader but they come only if you join a free club that requires you to provide an email address and agree to receive credits in the form of rebates that you redeem on other purchases).

the long fall.jpg

Similarly, the new book Max by James Patterson is priced at $9.99 on the Amazon Kindle whereas eReader has the same book for $18.90 (additional 30% rebate toward future purchase is available for those in the eReader Rewards Program)

patterson max.jpg

The second problem with eReader for BlackBerry is speed.

It took me a good 3 to 5 minutes to download a book to the BlackBerry eReader.

Compare this to the iPhone Kindle application which has nearly an instant download. Similar to how the iPhone raised the bar for mobile phones in terms of applications and functionality the Amazon Kindle has rightfully raised the bar in terms of what we now expect from eBook readers.

The last problem I had with the eReader is the quaint DRM that they have built into their books.

The way that eReader’s DRM (Digital Rights Management) works is that you’re expected to remember what credit card you used when you originally purchased the book. Goodness. I can’t barely remember what I had for breakfast yet I’m expected to remember a lengthy credit card number from years ago?

The system prompts you with the last four digits of the card number. Good luck remembering this if you’ve had to discard a credit card or obtain a new number.

ereader authenticate.jpg

Because the BlackBerry (or any smartphone) is likely used as a backup ebook reading device – it’s fair to expect that you’ll very infrequently use the reader.

For my reading habits this means I’d likely be stuck in an airport when I remembered that I had eBooks on my BlackBerry.

Fast forward to the next 20 minutes as I frantically try to unlock the stupid DRM code by remembering what credit card I used to purchase the books.

Do yourself a favor – save time and aggravation and pass eReader by and pick up an Amazon Kindle. You’re going to pay a little more for the reader but the savings in frustration, speed of downloads and the lack of a need to key in a lengthy credit card number to unlock a book (that you own) will be worth it.

eReader for BlackBerry

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6 replies

  1. Why eReader for BlackBerry is a fail http://is.gd/oZWe

  2. I’m sure eReader and others (Fictionwise, Mobipocket…) need some competition, to improve their services and prices, but I’m not sure one can be so dismissive about the others compared to Amazon.

    First, I was always under impression that the DRM system used in eReader is more user friendly than the others. Sure you have to remember the credit card number, but I have Wallet software for exactly that purpose on my Diamond, and considering you only have to do the unlocking once for particular device and that there is no stupid limitations with the number or type… of the devices it’s (in my opinion) the most unobtrusive DRM system available.

    Also, while I would love to have the Amazon Kindle prices, the truth is Kindle and it’s books are only available to less than 5% of world’s population, so us, the other 95+% have to get by with other services.
    And at the end I can read a book from eReader on my WM devices, PCs or maybe iPhone, Blackberry and Symbian phone (if I ever get such a device) – I don’t have to buy $350 single purpose black&white device.

    I guess it depends on your personal preferences, or at least on what is available to you…

  3. The same availability argument could also be made about just carrying a paperback book around.

    My opinion is that just as the iPhone did, the Kindle raised the bar for what we can expect from an eBook reader.

    Trying to memorize my EXACT registered name — as well as full credit card number I used to purchase a book 3 years ago — is not user friendly to me.

    This has happened to me multiple time when I’ve switched devices and decided to give the reader another go. Sure, the books transferred but not after a LOT of frustrating brain wracking.

    Not the user experience I’m looking for in the future.

  4. Interesting thing, though.

    You don’t really talk about eReader on the iPhone which does NOT ask you for the credit card information (you simply use your eReader ID/pw or fictionwise ID/pw to log into your bookshelf and download – no extra DRM step) and it does load ebook titles about as fast as they load on the iPhone Kindle app.

    As a pure reading app, the current eReader app for iPhone is actually more advanced than the Kindle app with one exception – the Kindle app will sync your position in a book across multiple devices.

    The prices, however, are what will kill eReader on all platforms if B & N doesn’t address it quickly.

  5. In your bookshelf on ereader you can always reset any or all of your books to use whatever credit card you currently have in their system.

    No need to remember an old CC number at all.

    I’ve done this over the years as I’ve changed cards.

    Books I’ve purchased 7 years ago now all use my reent CC number.