Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Other eBook readers

Apparently a new eBook reader has been tossed into the fray (and there are quite a few already). This one, called the ECTACO jetbook, seems to be specifically geared toward users in Poland and Russia, and supports the basic formats that most of the readers do, such as text, Word, and MobiPocket. The jetbook joins the iRex iLiad and the Bookeen Cybook Gen3 in the category of overpriced devices with no really stand-out features. I think the options offered by the Kindle are much better than those of any of these other devices.

What about you? Do you think these other devices will actually give the Kindle a run for its money? Do you see features that would make them more appealing than Amazon's device?



OpenID robertjnagle said...

Hmm, interesting that you put Cybook Gen 3 in the category of overpriced devices. I bought my Cybook 3 from NAEB for $375 . That includes a 1 gig SD card, a leather case and a battery charger. How much do Kindles cost? Mobipocket reader lets you create ebooks out of RSS feeds too. For free.

We at Teleread.org are fairly negative about the Kindle's features and usability. As an ebook creator, I am wary of trying to design specifically for one reading device and one bookseller.

In terms of features, I see the PRS-505, Kindle and Cybook as more alike than different. The real difference (as you probably know) is in the ease of creating and designing format.

Good blog by the way.

April 23, 2008 5:37 PM  

Blogger Joshua Tallent said...

Thanks for your comments, Robert!

How is $375 not overpriced? The Kindle is only $25 more. No SD card, but it does not need it like the Cybook does, since it comes with 2GB installed.

The features of the Kindle are comparable to most other eBook devices, plus it has the one thing that the others don't: built-in, free wireless.

As for content, the Kindle natively reads Mobipocket books, and publishers on the Mobipocket site can publish their books on the Kindle with one checkbox. I can buy a Mobipocket book and put it on my Kindle as easily as I could put it on my PDA or you can put it on your Cybook. The idea that the Kindle does not support the same breadth of document types is bogus. So it does not support PDFs. Not many of the other devices do, either.

That also means that designing for the Kindle is not limited to the DTP. While there is a big benefit to publishing directly to the DTP and not through Mobipocket to Amazon (higher royalty from Amazon directly), a publisher/author could just as easily publish on Mobipocket and have the book available on the full range of devices. The formatting is exactly the same as Mobipocket.

In all, I think the Kindle has more going for it than the other devices, not the least of which is the power of the largest online bookseller, a company that is willing to stake a large amount of its future on the device, as recent reports have shown.

April 23, 2008 6:39 PM  

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