Welcome to another State of the eBook!
First and foremost, a nook update: As Dan reported yesterday, Spring Design has been denied an injunction that sought to prevent B&N from selling Nooks! This is good news and will hopefully stimulate Nook availability. Teleread argues that if Barnes and Noble doesn’t get nooks out to stores, the backlash could undo all the goodwill and positive word of mouth they’ve built so far.
This ties in with a conversation I had with a coworker this week, who relayed two interesting stories about eBook readers. One, his sister-in-law pre-ordered a nook, and since his wife is the big reader in the family, he’s decided their household will get a nook for the sharing feature (limited though it might be). On the other hand, a friend of his asked about eBook readers for the holidays, and my coworker was forced to admit that if it was needed for the holidays, it was basically Kindle or bust.
This is a big potential problem for B&N; in the last year or so, eBook readers have become more popular, more prominent in the public mind, and more affordable. This holiday season an eBook reader can easily be found for between $199 and $299, making them far more affordable than the $350+ they were commanding even a year or two ago. So what happens when shoppers decide to buy an eBook reader for a loved one? Unless they’re very tech-y, and very quick, chances are they didn’t pre-order in time for a nook. So they do what my coworker’s friend will do, and they order a Kindle or a Sony Reader instead. Hopefully Barnes and Noble is prepared to unleash a slew of Nooks as soon as possible, and that they’ll make their new shipping targets of December 9th. B&N’s big advantage is still (hopefully) having in-store demo units, plus all their perks for bringing the nook into their stores, so they aren’t down for the count yet.
In other eBook reader news (other readers? Besides the Kindle vs Nook showdown??) Judie brought us word of the eDGe eBook reader a few weeks ago, and now JKontheRun has shared a video of it in action, thanks to Netbooknews. Watch the video below; how badly do you want one now?
Confused about the different ebook readers, what stores they support, what formats they offer, and even what is available in the USA? MobileRead has a great chart up on their wiki that helps straighten that out a bit. It is SHOCKING how many dedicated eReaders are out there today. (Via The Gadgeteer)
Finally, if you have 20 minutes to spare, listen in on Spark Radio’s interview with Gabriella Coleman, a professor at NYU, about book piracy now and in the future. Some of her ideas are interesting (for example, she thinks $9.99 is still too high of a price threshold to prevent piracy), but some of her thoughts were, in my opinion, a bit off base. I understand the threat of piracy has increased with the popularity of eBooks, and that technological advances make pirating books that much easier. But in my opinion, the idea that the average person is going to seek out pirated eBooks to avoid paying $9.99 is off base. Unlike music, where you really only had the option of buying it in some format (LP, tape, CD, mp3) or pirating it, books have an ace in the hole: public libraries. Many public libraries are networked, so if your local library doesn’t have a book, chances are a linked one does. So why go through the trouble of hunting for a possibly poorly pirated book when heading down the street gets you a guaranteed correct copy for free? That’s without taking into account that many libraries offer a small number of eBooks already; hopefully, more will do so in the future. Gabriella does point out that much of today’s book piracy is for textbooks and technical manuals, and that is a whole other profile, but to conflate textbook piracy with mainstream book piracy is a bit of a strawman argument.
What are your thoughts? Do you agree that book piracy is going to be an epidemic of Napster proportions? Are you chomping at the bit for your nook pre-order, or did you snatch up a Kindle or Sony Reader instead? Share your thoughts below!