Tuesday, June 22, 2010

More and Cheaper E-Reader Devices

by Raelene Gorlinsky

It looks like the latest round of competition in the e-wars is bringing down device prices substantially. There are so many new devices being announced, more competition for the "big guys" (Kindle, Sony, Barnes&Noble). And new versions of the most popular devices.

B&N just announced a new wifi-only (not 3G) version of the Nook for $149, and that they are cutting the price of their 3G Nook from $259 to $199. Both come with a software upgrade. Amazon responded by dropping the price of the standard Kindle from $259 to $189. Borders' Kobo e-reader is coming out at $150, and Sony says it has a new Reader on the way.

Pricing under $200 is, I believe, a significant factor in getting more people to try e-readers. Pricing under $100 could put an e-reader device in millions more hands.

New reading devices are coming from everywhere: Aluratek ($199), Plastic Logic Que, Bookeen Opus and Orizon, reissue of the Demy ($199), Hanvon Wise, Entourage Edge (sorry, $499), Pocketbook, Iriver Story ($290). Skiff, Spring Design Alex ($399?), DMC Ocean and Tidal ($199 - $299), Samsung... Shall I go on? Lots more in the works. Although one has to assume that many of these will eventually fade.

My two requirements for an e-reading device are: (1) be able to read multiple formats that I can purchase anywhere, (2) affordable. So Kindle is definitely out for me. I may just be buying a Nook this month.


Karla Doyle said...

I have a Sony and I love it, but if I were buying today, I'd pick the Nook, too.
One of the features I particularily like is the ability to lend-a-book. While you lend your e-book to a friend, it is unavailable to read on your unit - just like a paperback.
This is what my bf and I miss most about e-books: swapping!

Jen said...

I have a Kindle2 and have been thrilled with it. I read much more than before and my husband will probably be picking one up as well. I think the lend feature is nice but it's currently too limited to be of much use. A book can only be shared once, for two weeks, ever. If they don't finish the book there is no way to extend the lend. With Amazon we can just have both Kindles on the same account and share a library. More flexible in a family situation but not very handy for just lending out a book to a friend.

They all have their pluses and minuses currently but I would still pick the Kindle if I could choose again.

JenB said...

I have a Sony Pocket. I like it, but it's not without its flaws. The page-turn button is in an awkward place, so if I read lying down, I tend to drop the reader on my face (ouch!). Also, I've never once been able to get the Sony Library software to work. I had to download Calibre, which has been pretty buggy for me. The battery life hasn't been what I expected, either. Mine only lasts a few days between charges, even though I don't use it much.

If I could do it over again, I'd buy a more user-friendly reader with a larger screen. I'm thinking the Aluratek, Kobo, or Nook.

Anonymous said...

I went with the inexpensive ebookwise reader and love it. It's got the backlight built in, it's easy to upload books ( I buy them anywhere I want, put them on my computer, and upload them to it fairly easy). It's got about 8 hours of battery life. It was under $100, travels well in my purse, and it's easy to use.

Anonymous said...

Whilst I have no problem with lending a book to a friend or family member - I do this with paperbacks - the facility for multiple lending of ebooks is actually not very kind to those who wrote them or the publisher. A couple of 'lends' is fine but where does it stop? ebooks aren't expensive to buy so please support authors by not overusing the ability to share.