Sunday, December 12, 2010

For Holiday Shoppers

For those of you still considering what to get the bookworms on your holiday gift list or if you're licking your chops anticipating what you might buy yourself with the gift money you receive, here's some information about ebook reading devices. If you need only a stocking stuffer, Book Darts has Christmas specials.

This CNET article, updated last month, compares Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and Apple's iPad with mentions of other e-readers, including the Sony Readers, to give you an idea of what's out there and their features. It says they're available at Best Buy if you want to see them in person without driving thither and yon.

As may be expected, the Nook is also available at Barnes & Noble with the iPad at an Apple store. Amazon's Kindle is also available at Staples and Target. Sony Readers are also available at Borders, Costco, and Fry's. Kobo eReaders are available at Borders and the new wireless Kobo Wi-Fi eReader is available at Wal-Mart stores in black only.

Four things you might want to know:

1. The Nook's touted LendMe feature lets you loan your ebooks to friends. However, it depends on the publisher and, if allowed, permits loaning only one book to one friend for only 14 days. You can't read it while it's loaned out. You can't loan it out again.

[Update: Amazon released this feature for the Kindle on Dec. 30, 2010 with the same limitations.]

2. If you've been borrowing books from your local public library and think getting an e-reader will significantly decrease the length of time you'll have to wait to read current popular fiction, don't count on it. I read a report of how libraries have ebooks in the EPUB format, but because publishers are concerned about decreased sales if libraries loan ebooks, there's a restriction making borrowing an ebook comparable to borrowing a hardcopy or worse. As a result, the author had to wait 18 weeks before getting the ebook he wanted to read on his Nook.

3. The Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Sony Reader all use E Ink technology. However, at this time, only the Kindle and Sony Reader Touch are using the latest E Ink Pearl displays.

4. The Kobo eReader battery is not replaceable.

For comparison purposes, e-reader user guides are available for the Kindle, Kobo, Nook, and Sony Reader.

Try before you buy or avoid buying an e-reader because you already have something that will do - free apps for ebook reading devices such as the Android, BlackBerry, iPad, iPhone/iTouch, Mac, PC, and Windows Phone 7 are available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Borders.

(Note: All devices are not supported by every bookseller and the free app may not have every feature that is available on the corresponding e-reader.)

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