The Case for eBook Readers

The Case for eBook Readers

It’s been a big week for dedicated ebook readers! Sure, everyone wants to talk about the iPad, but the Kindle, nook, and their comrades have been generating some headlines of their own this week.

Barnes and Noble nook:

The nook has had a busy, busy week. First, it hit Best Buy shelves, so if you have a craving for an ebook reader but an aversion to bookstores, you’re all set. To go along with this new retail takeover, B&N is airing a series of commercials about the nook during primetime. It’s actually a very effective commercial and plays on the strengths and positive feelings people have about books and Barnes and Noble.

Finally, to go along with the commercial and the wider availability, the nook has picked up some much-needed software upgrades. Now you can head into a B&N and use their wifi to read books on your nook for free! In addition, you can also play sudoku and chess, and browse the web. Unfortunately, the web browser is WiFi-only, probably to avoid completely breaking AT&T. Early reports do say it’s significantly better than the Kindle browser, though it still has a low refresh rate due to the eInk screen.

Amazon Kindle:

Not to be outdone by the nook, the Kindle will be lining the shelves of select Target stores later this spring! Not only that, but Kindle hangs onto its crown as Amazon’s bestselling, most gifted item of all time. Amazon had nothing but good news about the Kindle during their earnings call last week. Now if only Amazon made their latest round of Kindle commercials a touch less trippy:

Other ebook readers:

If you’re looking for a simple ebook reader, Newegg has a few deals for you this week. First, the Jetbook Lite (which I reviewed here) is on sale for $129.99. If you don’t have a very large eReader library and are looking for a reader that supports Adobe Digital Editions, Newegg also has the Aluratek Libre on sale for the same price!

In addition, Alex Readers have begun shipping (the Digital Reader posted a first impressions piece this week), and if you live in Canada you can preorder a Kobo Reader for $149.99.

Why eBook Readers still matter:

This started bouncing around in my head the other day while I was watching CNBC. One of the yammering talking heads was saying that despite Amazon’s great quarter, the iPad was killing the Kindle, and Amazon should get the headstone ready. Now, first of all, I have trouble believing this particular talking head anyway (I forget his name, but he’s the one who thinks balding on top and ponytail in the back looks good on TV), but this just sealed how idiotic he is.

First of all, from Amazon’s perspective, it makes no sense to stop selling Kindles. Look at it this way: if you buy a book on your iPad through the Kindle app, or if you buy it on your Kindle, either way, Amazon is happy. On the other hand, the next book you read on your iPad doesn’t have to come from the Kindle app; by using an iPad you’re a free agent and can shop around. On the other hand, while you can find alternative sources for books on your Kindle, you are far more likely to buy directly from Amazon for most of them. Having the Kindle around, even if sales drop, means having more valuable customers!

Of course, there’s also the myriad reasons why people dislike reading on backlit screens. Everything from battery life to size/weight and eyestrain come up as reasons why people opt for a Kindle, nook, or another device over a tablet. These are all personal preferences, and as long as there’s a market for them (and it seems like there still is), then companies are going to continue to sell them.

What’s a bit amusing about this whole debate is that the same could be said about Apple’s continuing to sell the iPod Classic. It’s arguable that the iPod Touch offers so much more, there’s little value for the average consumer in buying a dedicated music player. But Apple still sells the Classic for the people who just want to listen to music. It’s the same idea with ebook readers.

Do you own an update nook? Are you clinging to your ebook reader until they pry it from your cold, dead hands? Share your thoughts below!

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About the Author

Zek has been a gadget fiend for a long time, going back to their first PDA (a Palm M100). They quickly went from researching what PDA to buy to following tech news closely and keeping up with the latest and greatest stuff. They love writing about ebooks because they combine their two favorite activities; reading anything and everything, and talking about fun new tech toys. What could be better?

6 Comments on "The Case for eBook Readers"

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