Thursday, March 5, 2009

Random Thursday - eBook Readers

eBooks - where do you read them?

Most of us probably start by reading them on our computers. But, it's a bit difficult to curl up by the fire with your monitor and keyboard, and a good eMystery novel.

Portable, dedicated-use ebook readers have been around for quite a while. There was a big splash of first generation eBook readers in 2000 by Franklin, Gemstar, Rocket, and a host of others. They were clunky, and there was no good source of content, so they were expensive, mostly usless toys.

The original Kindle changed that. When it was announced, I was enthralled to find that every single title I checked was avaible in Kindle format. I didn't buy a Kindle then, but I'm thinking harder about it now. The reviews have been favorable.

There are other eBook readers out there - the Sony Reader and the upcoming new toy from Hearst that is intended to read periodicals only.

And how about reading on your NetBook (mini laptop)? Why not do that?

My boss attended the CES convention last January, and she was startled to see that, not only CD players were gone like they'd never existed, but MP3 players were disappearing entirely also. Everything was going to the uber media toys like iTouch, iPhone, Zen, and other portable media players. If they have Internet access, can be a phone, and brew you coffee, even better!

And Amazon just announced the Kindle for iPhone app as a free download from Apple, so all the Kindle titles are now available for your iPhone. (And, they can be in color, which is a step up from the grayscale only Kindle. But, you can't get the content as easily.)

What I like about the Kindle is the screen is much bigger than any of these. Amazon makes getting content really simple (and the books I like are CHEAP!) Am I just a dinosaur with weak eyes? What do you think? Will eBook readers disappear entirely in the iPhone/iTouch generation?


Shari said...

You neglect to mention that the two uber-hot readers right now - the Sony(s) and the Kindle - have something that iPhone et al don't: e-ink.

E-ink seems to have been the tipping point in many people's decision to buy an e-book reader (or to switch to a Sony or the Kindle). A device whose screen looks like the page of a book? No glaring backlight? Whoa.

That doesn't mean that the reader won't disappear. But, should a person who would enjoy one of the new readers wait until iPhone (or whatever) has an e-ink device with free wireless internet and a two-week battery life?

Susan said...

Did you see the amazing cartoon at Penny Arcade last week?

Susan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Susan said...

Jacob Weisberg, of Slate Magazine, has posted an interesting article about the Kindle and its possible effects on the availability of books printed on paper, and the literacy level of readers.