The Nook will have an eInk display, and a color touchscreen below the main display. This may have something to do with the price. The new device will also have an, as yet unspecified, wireless connection for downloading books. Apparently the Nook will allow users to, “lend eBooks to friends”. If true, this could be a killer app. With the Kindle having solid control of 60% of the market, the Nook will need all the differentiation it can get. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to get all the deatils. So... interested?
Amazon is betting the future of textbooks lies in e-ink, not paper, but even more evidence is mounting to suggest that they still have some work to do before the device is accepted universally. The Kindle DX which comes with a slightly larger screen than most eBook readers, along with a $489 price tag aims to reduce the burden of carrying dozens of books from class to class, but its shortcomings have some students ready to trade back down to the dead tree edition according to the Associated Press. "I like the aspect of writing something down on paper and having it be so easy and just kind of writing whatever comes to my mind," says Claire Becerra, a freshman at Arizona State University. Becerra further complained that notes made on the device often didn’t make sense because they were laced with typos and she relies more heavily on the highlighter tool as a result.
When asked how the device could be improved Madeline Kraizel, a freshman at Case Western Reserve University said a better system for managing bookmarks was needed, and a way that page numbers could remain consistent, so both teacher and student could reference material properly. Other students suggested that reading PDF files was often difficult, and if they weren’t formatted properly, zooming in to make the text readable didn’t always work.John Sherman, a first-year MBA student at the University of Virginia, claims that he still finds himself printing off case studies delivered in PDF format about half the time. "For the cases that require a lot of calculations, I find paper cases to be better," says Sherman, 31. "For me, it helps to scribble my thoughts in the margins."
It wasn’t all bad news for Amazon mind you. Students generally liked the concept behind the initiative, and many made use of some of the more unique features such as text to speech, allowing them to study more often. So, do you think the future of textbooks lies in e-Ink?
Are you tired of crowds, pushy sales people, and long lines at checkout counters? Are you dreading last minute Christmas shopping? If you are, and you happen to live in one of seven major U.S. cities, Amazon is about to change your life.
Introducing Amazon’s new “Same Day Delivery” option in New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Las Vegas and Seattle. Timing cutoffs vary in each of the cities, but you can order before 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to be eligible for the option.
But wait, there’s more! Some would be willing to pay $20 to $30 for such quick delivery. But you will pay the low, low price of $15.99 (*Applause*). If you belong to Amazon Prime, you will see even deeper discounts, paying just $6.99 for the service.
Amazon has finally obliged globetrotting fans of its Kindle ebook reader by releasing an international GSM version. The new international edition is tied to AT&T 3G service in the US and will cost you $280, that’s $20 more than the standard Sprint Whispernet equipped Kindle. One thing that Amazon didn’t mention though, is that when used overseas, some wireless features will be blocked.
While Europe, for example, has solid GSM coverage, the international Kindle won’t allow access to blogs or the experimental web browser. This is almost certainly being done to protect Amazon from huge roaming data charges. No word yet on if Amazon will attempt to work out arrangements with foreign cell carriers in the future.
While using the e-ink display for actual web browsing may be rare, checking blogs on the device is more common. Users should still be able to access the ebook store, which is, admittedly, the main reason for having the device. So, is this a deal breaker for anyone? Do you really need full web access on the Kindle while overseas?
First, Brin argues that information unavailable is information wasted. Brin writes that “the vast majority of books ever written are not accessible to anyone except the most tenacious researchers at premier academic libraries. Books written after 1923 quickly disappear into a literary black hole.” Information, such as the 1919 issue of the journal Electrical World’s assessment of the state of electric cars, doesn’t really exist. Digitization can correct that.
Second, paper is temporal. Books are continually being lost to age, improper care, and disasters. Libraries are forever burning: Alexandria, the Library of Congress, and even Stanford University's own libraries. When books burn so to does the collective human wisdom they represent. Digitizing books saves them and the knowledge they contain.
Third, authors are cheated by Google’s project. Brin states this is not so, that authors are able to control the pricing and access of their works in Google Books. And that “orphaned” books will be subject to default rules on pricing and access, accumulating revenues should their authors reappear.
Lastly, Brin tackles the question of competition. Some argue that Google’s efforts would lock others out of the market, effectively creating a Google-controlled monopoly. Not so says Brin because at present no one else wants to do what Google is doing. And, should someone wish to enter the market at a later time they would be free to do so; Google would be unable to prevent it.
When you're on top, everyone comes gunning for you, especially in a lucrative market like the e-reader business. Not only will Amazon have to fend off competition from Sony, but it will also have to contend with startups and other newcomers hoping to grab a piece of the e-book pie.
Enter Christopher Maire, CEO of txtr, who said his firm would release an e-reader before Christmas rolls around. Or in other words, just in time for the holiday shopping spree.
"Reading is a 100 million market and we think is a big opportunity for providing an 'Easy tech' solution," Maire explains. "The e-reading design will be launched by Christmas, and is custom designed to include energy saving.."
Maire went on to say his company's device will include touch technology, a simplified form factor, and various connectivity options, including UMTS, GPRS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB. But the company's real advantage, Maire claims, is on the software side. The CEO says that txtr is a software stack company and it will share folders in the cloud, licensing its middleware stack to other manufacturers. At launch, Maire says his company's software will boast support for the iPhone.
Perhaps in an attempt to stave off the competition in what's shaping up to be a battle royal in the e-book reader market, Amazon has again dropped the price of its Kindle 2, this time from $299 to $259. In addition, Amazon said it will start selling an international version with a built-in AT&T SIM card for $279 on Monday, October 19.
When Amazon deleted digital copies of Orwell’s 1984 from Kindles, there was a public outcry. Two customers went further and filed a lawsuit against Amazon on September 25th. Now, there is already a settlement in the case. Amazon has agreed to pay the pair $150,000. The settlement may have come quickly in order to prevent a judge from certifying the case for class-action status.
Amazon admitted this summer that it remotely removed two Orwell novels from Kindles after finding out that the books were posted illegally. Affected customers were eventually compensated with a new digital copy of the book, and $30.
The terms of the settlement also stipulate that Amazon can only delete works from Kindles under certain circumstances. A book can only be deleted if a customer agrees to its removal, if a customer requests a refund, or the digital files are found to contain malicious code. So, is this a reasonable policy?
E-book readers are poised to become as popular as netbooks, and it's Amazon who stands to benefit the most, whose Kindle readers lead the charge. But the handheld digital readers are best served for personal use and not in an academic setting, suggests Princeton University.
As part of a pilot program, 50 Princeton students received a Kindle DX e-book reader at no cost, but according school newspaper The Daily Princetonian, "many of them said they were dissatisfied and uncomfortable with the devices."
The Kindles were given to students and faculty in three courses -- WWS 325: Civil Society and Public Policy, WWS 555A: U.S. Policy and Diplomacy in the Middle East, and CLA 546: Religion and Magic in Ancient Rome. In all three classes, the general consensus was that the devices were too difficult to use.
"I hate to sound like a Luddite, but this technology is a poor excuse of an academic tool," said Aaron Horvath, a student in Civil Society and Public Policy. "It's clunky, slow, and a real pain to operate."
Horvath went on to explain that by trading in textbooks for the Kindle, students lose the ability for physical interaction, including highlights, page-tearing, sticky notes, margin notes, and so forth.
More details have started to emerge regarding Asus' rumored e-book reader, and what we're finding out could spell bad news for Amazon and Sony. According to the Times Online UK, Asus' version is coming soon and will be the world's cheapest digital reader, undercutting the competition without skimping on features.
Citing a spokesperson for Asus in the UK, the upcoming e-book reader will sport a hinged spine so that it more closely emulates the experience of reading a book. Users will be able to see text on one screen while surfing willy nilly on the web over on the other. It's also possible that one of the screens may end up with a virtual keyboard. Perhaps best of all, Asus has decided to ditch a monochrome display in favor of full-color.
According to the report, Asus said it is considering a budget and premium version, the differences of which have yet to be determined. Either way, look for at least one Asus-branded e-book reader to surface later this year for around $150.