Borders is no stranger to the e-reader game. The brick and mortar book seller has had Sony units for sale for a number of years. But now in the face of rival Barnes and Noble's Nook push, Borders is looking to create a more integrated eBook solution, and offer customers more choice by stocking up to 10 different devices by the end of 2010. These e-readers are expected to run the gamut of price points. All the devices will be connected to Borders' as yet unlaunched Borders eBooks store in conjunction with Kobo. They will show off all the devices in the cunningly named "Area-e" section of the store.
Kobo isn't just running the technology behind the eBook store, they are also making an eReader that Borders plans to begin selling this month. The Kobo is expected to retail for $149. Much lower than the competing Nook and Kindle. The so-called Alex dual screen e-reader has also been rumored for months, Add to that the just announced Libre e-reader which should sell for a downright reasonable $120, and the Borders strategy becomes more clear. They will offer products at all prices to lure in consumers, and get them to commit to their book ecosystem. The Libre will have a black and white LCD (instead of eInk), and users will have to load books on via a PC of SD cards.
Do you think this is a better strategy than the Amazon and Barnes and Noble model of having a single hero device?
Bookseller and Nook purveyor Barnes and Noble has decided to partner with Pandigital to bring a $199.99 color ereader to the market. The device, known as the Pandigital Novel, will use a regular backlit LCD instead of an eInk display like the Kindle or Nook. The Android-based Novel will have a 7-inch 800x600 resolution resistive touchscreen display, and ARM 11 CPU, Wi-Fi, and 1GB of internal storage with support for SD cards.
In many ways, it's really more of an inexpensive tablet that happens to be sold by a bookseller. The Novel will have a full web browser, and multimedia capabilities. Details on just what sort of multimedia experience would be available were not forthcoming, but it will play MP3s and some video formats. Experience with Android means probably H.264 encoded files. As far as ebooks, we're pleased to hear it will support books from Barnes and Noble's store as well as any files formatted as PDF, EPUB, or HTML. Battery life for reading is listed as only 6 hours though.
It's clearly not a match for the iPad on features, but the price is less than half of even the low end model of the Apple device. It is even cheaper than standard eInk-based readers, which often clock in at $260. We'll be interested to see if anyone goes for this device over the competition. Look for it to ship in June.
Barnes and Noble had grand visions for its Nook ebook reader when the device first launch at the tail end of 2009, but other than an initial flurry of sales, the ebook reader hasn't been able to pluck the crown off of Amazon's market-leading Kindle. Maybe things are starting to turn around.
According to DigiTimes Research, ebook reader shipments to Barnes and Noble jumped ahead of shipment numbers to Amazon for the first time in March, indicating that demand for the Nook might finally be starting to pick up. Looking at figures from upstream suppliers, the Nook accounted for some 53 percent of ebook readers shipped to US vendors last month.
The Nook's future now looks a little brighter than it has been. B&N just recently released another firmware update -- version 1.3 -- which, among other things, purports to kick performance up a notch yet again. In addition, B&N recently struck a deal with Best Buy to carry the company's ebook reader both in the electronic chain's brick and mortar stores and website.
The Nook hasn't exactly made the same splash the Kindle has, but it's apparently doing well enough that Barnes and Noble is planning new versions. The always fun "anonymous source" indicates that a "lite" version of the Nook without cell data will be shipping soon. This will shave a bit off the price of the device as the cost of lifetime data is built in. Users would still have data connectivity over Wi-Fi. This version is rumored to be priced at $199, breaking that psychological $200 barrier.
As for the Nook 2, there aren't many details other than Barnes and Noble is working on it. But the Nook Lite will be available by the end of the second quarter. It's not that we aren't appreciative of a $60 price cut, but it may not be enough. The Nook's software has been on the buggy side, and updates have been slow to appear. Though, the 1.4 build is expected soon.
The wireless data is a major selling point on these devices. It's unclear if people will be willing to make the trade off. Would you take the Lite version at that price over the regular Nook?
Just a few months ago, the Nook was one of the hottest holiday items, so much so that Barnes and Noble had trouble keeping up with demand. But starting this Sunday, April 18, you'll be able to drop by any Best Buy store and pick up B&N's $260 ebook reader.
The deal makes Best Buy the first chain (other than Barnes and Noble) to carry the Nook, giving the ebook reader more than double the exposure it's been getting from B&N's website and 723 bookstores. In addition, Best Buy said it plans to include Barnes and Noble's BN eReader software on some of the PCs and smartphones it sells.
This is a great move for Barnes and Noble, who not only is up against Amazon's Kindle, but more recently has been put in a position to go up against Apple's iPad. Apple last week said it has sold about 450,000 iPads in its first few days, while B&N hasn't released any sales figures for its Nook.
On a side note, Best Buy also sells Sony's ebook reader. Amazon's Kindle is only available on its website.
Spring Design’s Alex e-reader was slated to come out on February 22nd. It didn’t happen. There was a bit of concern around the interwebs as Spring Design didn’t really release any information. The company did eventually come out with a statement to assure us all that the Alex wasn’t vaporware. The release date has apparently been pushed to early March.
We were a bit baffled when we first saw the Spring Design Alex. Not because of any particularly confounding element of the Alex, but because we thought it was the Barnes and Noble Nook. The Alex fit all the rumors: color touchscreen, additional eink display, Android powered. Turns out that the Alex was just very similar to the Nook, and Spring Design even claims the Nook is based on the Alex (hence the legal issues).
The Alex will have a tie to Borders stores in an effort to compete with Barnes and Noble's Nook. It is expected to retail for $359 when it launches… whenever that is.
If you had asked us what electronic device had no business running a multitouch display, we’d have said eInk-based ereaders. Apparently, we don’t know what we’re talking about, because the Bookeen Orizon is an ereader with a multitouch screen. Why? So you can adjust the zoom level. No one wants to use buttons for that, right?
The Bookeen Orizon will be out in May and will retail for $250. When the current price of a Kindle or Nook is just a bit higher, they must really be banking on people going crazy for the multitouch. The screen is 6 inches and the device will come with 1GB of built-in storage. There’s no book store for this product, but it supports whatever ePub files or PDFs you’d like to put on it.
Even if you don’t need an integrated book store, why get this over a Sony reader? Is anyone really hankering for multitouch zooming on their ereader?
Are you searching for just the right outing for you and your special someone this Valentine’s Day? Well, look no further, Barnes and Noble will have Nooks available in stores for you to actually buy. Name just one thing more romantic than swinging by your local retail establishment to buy a new gadget. We sure can’t come up with anything.
The bookseller was caught off guard by demand for their ebook reader this past holiday season, with preorders spilling over into January. Barnes and Noble has had limited numbers of demo units in their retail locations since shortly after launch, but now you can actually take one home. This was cited as a main advantage over Amazon’s offering.
The Nook is a compelling alternative to the Kindle for some. The Nook runs the Android operating system, and a dedicated modding community has even gained root access to its Android core. Now that the production delays have finally been sorted out, we’ll see just how many people walk out of a Barnes and Noble with a Nook.
One advantage in today’s technological world is upgradability. The product you buy today, no matter its limitations, has a reasonable chance of being transformed into the product you really want. All you have to do is wait for an update. An example of this is the second nook software update in as many months. Good news for users of the Barnes & Noble eReader, as they are now one step closer to having the eBook reader of their dreams.
The update, version 1.2, starts over-the-air distribution today. Registered nook users will see the update sometime in the next week, either on Barnes & Noble’s Fast & Free wireless or Wi-Fi. The process should take less than 15 minutes, depending on your connection. If you are impatient you can get the update manually, but you will have to download the update, connect your nook to a computer, and update it via USB. Instructions are available at the nook support site.
What’s new and improved in version 1.2? Better in-store connectivity, for starters. More reliable Wi-Fi and more in-store content will be available for visitors to Barnes & Nobles brick-and-mortar locations. Probably more important are speed improvements for opening eBooks and periodicals, better responsiveness for Reading Now and Settings buttons, properly saved current page and bookmarks, easier navigation of daily subscriptions, sorting of personal files, battery optimization, plus the obligatory, but indefinite, catchall “overall system improvements”.
Regardless of how you feel about the newly announced iPad, it’s probably going to do a few things very well. But will it be the reading device we’ve all been waiting for? Steve Jobs pushed the iBook store in the keynote, and discussed how the Kindle pioneered ebooks. Jobs then said Apple would “stand on [Amazon’s] shoulders”. Can it work?
The obvious benefit of the iPad is that it has a color screen. There will be more options for text size, search, and even font choices. Magazines and newspapers will look nice, but reading an old fashioned book may not benefit much. The Kindle and other eReaders have a 16 level eInk display meant to be easy to read. The screen on the iPad, being a conventional LCD, may not be quite so easy on the eyes.
Content wise, the iPad may be in good shape. Out of the gate it will have content from Penguin, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, Harper Collins and Hachette. It will also support the open ePub format, which is more than we can say for Amazon. This means the iPad will have access to Google Books. The Nook has ePub support also, so it’s not a total win for Apple.
Price is certainly of concern. The iPad is clocking in at $499 for the 16GB version sans 3G. That’s quite a bit more than the Kindle and Nook at $260. To get data on the go, you need to purchase an AT&T data plan for the (more expensive) iPad, whereas the Kindle and Nook come with free wireless. Granted, the iPad does much more than eBooks, but buying it primarily as a reading device may be a questionable move.