Kobo Reader

Apple Discovers the Key to iBooks Success — iBooting the Competition?

Earlier today Mike brought us the news that Sony’s Reader app was rejected from the App Store, and he did a great job of explaining how murky the whole story really is. Whether Apple purposely rejected the Reader app as part of a longer plan to cull all ebook readers from the App Store, or whether Sony brought the issue upon themselves by breaking the rules remains to be determined. What’s more disturbing is the news from Techcrunch that Apple didn’t directly deny the possibility of cracking down on the ebook app “browser trick”, where book purchases are done by…


Tough Call: Is Apple Being Draconian & Greedy … or Is Sony Trying to Pull a Fast One?

If you track technology, you have likely seen the NYTimes article or one of the echo-articles declaring a shift in how Apple operates the app store, citing the rejection of the Sony Reader app and a vague quote from a Sony Rep as evidence. There is a lot of speculation there, but it ultimately comes down to the interpretation of two sections of a single sentence: The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App…


Kobo Wants to See Your Office

Actually, Kobo just wants to see you reading in your office. If you head over to Kobo’s Facebook page, and either post on their wall or add a picture of your office. That enters you in a drawing to win a Kobo eReader! They’re giving away 4 Kobo eReaders AND the Grand Prize winner also gets 10 ebooks too! I reviewed the Kobo WiFi Reader here, and found it to be a great little device! Again, if you missed The Office the other night, here’s a clip of Darryl checking out the Kobo reader:


Kobo eReader Gets Featured on the Office!

Tonight on The Office our friends at Kobo snuck in a great bit of product placement! I won’t spoil the whole scene, but it’s very amusing and manages to add in a pitch about how many books the Kobo Reader can hold! We’re working on getting a screenshot, but until then head over to the official Office site to catch the episode online!


Why Barnes and Noble Shouldn’t Buy Borders

Rich Adin has an editorial making the rounds of the ebook world today, where he argues that B&N should snap Borders up for several strategic reasons. His reasons aren’t bad, per se, but I think he underestimates much of the risks and pitfalls in his ideas, and they come from a more idealist view than a realistic business one. Let’s go through his ideas one by one and I’ll interject where I disagree: First, it can immediately close all the b&m stores that currently compete with its own brand. This would increase traffic to its own brand for those of…


Google to Expand to Periodicals?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that Google is looking to sell more than just books. Apparently, they also want to sell newspapers and magazines, probably as a way to offer more content to the slew of Android tablets coming out this year! According to the WSJ: Google has discussed its intentions with a range of publishers, including Time Warner Inc.’s Time Inc. unit, Condé Nast and Hearst Corp., according to people familiar with the matter. The three publishers declined to comment on any talks. In recent weeks, these people say, Google has told publishers it would take a smaller slice…


State of the eBook: 2010’s Legacy and 2011’s Future

It has been far too long since the last “State of the eBook” column, but life has been busy lately. However, my New Year’s resolution is to get back on track, and it seemed like a good way to start would be with a retrospective on 2010 and a look to what we might see in 2011! State of the eBook world at the end of 2010 Winners Kindle: It’s impossible not to include the Kindle on this list. Amazon has hung onto their marketshare and expanded onto Mac OS X, Blackberries and Android devices. Not to mention their existing…


Kobo’s Big End of Year Contest!

Kobo is running what they call a “Get-a-Gift” contest. Every day, you head to the site, sign in and scratch off your virtual entry card. You can win a Kobo eReader, coupons or a gift card! If you’re as hooked on lotto scratch-offs as I am, you’ll definitely like this contest! It goes from now until New Year’s Eve, so you have all week to win something. So far I’ve won 10% off one book; give it a shot and let us know in the comments if you win anything good! Check out Kobo’s full blog post and contest rules,…


Is Google eBooks a Bestseller or a Bargain Bin Book?

Google eBooks are here! They’ve been rumored for months, and everyone’s been expecting great things. Are they the best thing since sliced bread, or are they just another me-too offering? Let’s look at the good and the bad, and what it might take to really make an impact in today’s ebook market. The Good: -Digital rights management: While it’s disappointing that DRM is still necessary, at least Google is using Adobe Digital Editions (ADE). This is the same quasi-universal standard supported by the Aluratek Libre, the Kobo Readers, Sony Readers, even the NOOK. In fact, the only major device that…


The Kobo WiFi eReader Review

Earlier this fall we had the opportunity to review the original Kobo Reader, a simple ebook reader sold through Kobo and Borders. They recently updated the original design to include WiFi connectivity, and the good folks at Kobo sent a unit over for review! In many ways the WiFi Reader is just like it’s unconnected sibling; the reading experience is essentially the same. I don’t have an original Kobo Reader handy, but from what I remember the menus look similar. Two changes did jump out at me. One, there’s a dictionary option now, powered by Miriam-Webster, and the second is…


The Aluratek Libre Review

Talk ebook readers, and everyone thinks Kindle or NOOK. But there’s a whole subset of hardware out there for people who aren’t interested in connected readers, and just want a simple device that handles multiple formats. That’s where an ebook reader like the Aluratek Libre comes in handy. The Libre is physically very similar to the Jetbook Lite we looked at last spring. It has the same slider along the left side for page turns, along with page turn buttons on the bottom. There are d-pad and navigation buttons along the right side, plus a T-9 keyboard along the right…


NPR’s Libraries and eBooks Report Highlights eBook Ignorance

The good folks at NPR’s Marketplace did a story on the state of ebooks and libraries the other night. At first I was excited, since it’s great to hear any story about ebooks, especially library programs that tend to fly under the radar. But NPR’s reporting was so horribly, egregiously, painfully inaccurate that I really wonder if they did any research at all. Let’s start with the biggest head-scratcher: Kai Ryssdal: For all that die-hard bibliophiles say they will never ever give up their actual printed books, they may be fighting a losing battle. E-book sales are up 118 percent…


Random House Loves eBooks, but Not iBooks

(image courtesy psdgraphics) Random House was the only major publisher last year to hold out and refuse to work with Apple on an “agency pricing” system. They basically said setting prices was not their job, but that of the retailer, and if Apple wanted to sell books they could set the prices too. Apple refused, and Random House has famously been absent from iBooks. As it turns out, it doesn’t seem to be hurting Random House much in the ebook department. Markus Dohle, their CEO, recently stated ebooks are currently 8% of their revenue stream, and it looks like it…


Kobo Reader Review

In the ebook world, the Kindle and nook are the 100 lbs. gorillas. Everyone uses them as the yardstick; does an eReader offer the same features, does it have a store affiliation, is the screen as sharp, etc. At the same time, there’s still something to be said for simple ebook readers. No bells and whistles, just a thin device and your books. The Kobo Reader aims to fill that gap, with sleek looks, a low price, and basic features. Does it fit the bill, or should you pass in favor of its flashier competitors? Read on for my full…


State of the eBook: The Return!

Hello and welcome back to State of the eBook! The series had a bit of a summer vacation, but the news is slowly picking back up! So pull yourself away from your new Kindle/nook app/iBooks and check out what’s been going on in the ebook world! Fuzzy Math A few bits of creative and flexible number reporting first. The Bookseller claims iBooks is “more popular than Facebook and Twitter”. Yes, they phrased it exactly like that. As one commenter on their post pointed out, iBooks is the default PDF reader on the iPad and iPhone, so that explains a big…


Kindle Is Headed to Best Buy, the New eBook Battleground

Just the other day I was commenting on how I didn’t see the Kindle heading to Best Buy for a head to head against the nook, but clearly, I was wrong. According to MobileRead, Amazon and Best Buy have announced that the big yellow tag will be stocking Kindles for the holidays, so whether you’re shopping for a B&N fan or an Amazon acolyte you’re all set. Unless, of course, you’re Sony. Why is this such bad news for Sony? There are a few reasons. One, look at Sony’s prices compared to the nook and the Kindle. You can buy…


Kobo Adds “Outside Book Loading” to Their iOS Apps

Kobo has an interesting new feature for iOS users; now you can add non-DRM’d ePUB and PDF files to the Kobo app on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. You can do the same thing through Stanza, so it’s not the feature set itself per se…it’s that Kobo is the first mainstream bookstore to support this feature! If you read your books on an ebook reader, you can load any supported files onto your device. Kobo Readers can load DRM-free ePUBs, as can Sony Readers, B&N Nooks, Jetbook lites, etc. But unless you’re going through Amazon’s Whispersync conversion it’s nearly…


eBook Pricing Showdown!

(image courtesy Inkmesh) eBook pricing has been in a huge state of flux since the “agency model” went into effect this past spring. With many top titles pricing being set by the publisher it becomes a case of what store you prefer, and not necessarily what store offers the best price. However, there are still many publishers (Random House being the biggest) who don’t follow agency pricing, and the fine folks at Inkmesh did some number crunching to determine which store offers the best bang for your buck. Amazon was the winner, but by a lower margin than the pre-agency…


Is the Paper Book Dead?

There’s been quite the firestorm of debate over the future of the printed word recently. With the new Kindles selling out and Apple selling iPads like crazy, everyone is tripping over each other predicting the end of the road for paper. But is it really time to say goodbye, or are predictions of paper book’s death greatly exaggerated? In my opinion, there are a few areas that need to hit a “tipping point” before ebooks truly overtake paper books in all areas. Price, audience, software, and content all need to come together. And it’s important to remember that ebooks fall…


Sony’s Murky eBook Future

With Amazon’s Kindle 3 and Kindle WiFi selling out, and B&N seeing the nook as their major bright spot, it’s pretty clear that Amazon and B&N are dominating the ebook market. So where’s Sony in the mix? Apparently, not competing at all. Sony was out at the end of July with this comment to the blog ReadWriteWeb: “Pricing is one consideration in the dedicated reading device marketplace, but Sony won’t sacrifice the quality and design we’re bringing book lovers to lay claim to the cheapest eReader,” said Phil Lubell, VP of digital reading at Sony Electronics. “Our global customers expect…


Barnes and Noble Looking to Sell, but to Whom?

The big bookstore news of the day is that Barnes and Noble is looking to sell themselves. Everyone is wondering who or what will be snatching up B&N, with rumors and speculation flying. Who are the likely and unlikely suitors? Here’s my take, from least likely to best fit. Microsoft (or Apple, or some other pure technology company): This is a completely insane idea. If B&N were solely looking to sell the ebook division, I could see Microsoft being a good fit. But why would Microsoft, or any pure tech company, be interested in buying 700+ retail bookstore locations? Putting…