Monday, August 1, 2011

July 2011 - The State of E-book Readers

Whenever I mention something about e-readers, I get some requests for advice on which product to buy so I thought I'd provide some updates on where some of the e-reader players are at this moment in time.

My preferred e-book reader at the moment is the Barnes and Noble Nook Touch or as their trademarked name reads: The All-New Nook The Simple Touch Reader. The name is bigger than the device. It's available for $139.99 from Barnes and Noble's website and stores as well as Best Buy and potentially other retail outlets. Walmart sells Nooks but didn't have the Touch available at least in its Billings West end store.

It's small and light and easy to use. The touch interface is intuitive and for everyday reading, the device disappears and you're left with just the content you're reading. My only negative is that I think the Nook navigation tends to be a bit clunky. It's sometimes difficult for me to figure out just where the book or magazine I want to read is located in the file structure. But I always manage to find it without too much frustration.

Very similar in design is the Kobo eReader Touch. This retails for $130 but if you live in a location like Billings with a closing Borders store, I'm watching the discounts on this device. When it reaches 30%, I think this will be a very nice device for that $100 price point. I haven't actually used this aside from playing around with it in the Borders store, but it's very light and seems responsive enough. A review on talked about the Kobo Touch lacking the finesse of the Nook. I think that's probably a fairly apt description. If we're talking about only a $10 price difference, I'd stick with the Nook but at going out of business discounts...

Most of the tech reviews are giving the nod to the new Nook Touch over the Amazon Kindle. But we're comparing different generations of devices. Amazon did start offering lower priced versions of its 3rd gen Kindles with special offers (limited ads) for $114 for wifi and $139 for the 3G version.

Amazon will no doubt be coming out with its next generation of Kindles sometime this fall. Rumors are flying that Amazon will be presenting a Kindle tablet that will enable you to view videos that you've purchased from Amazon, read books you've purchased from Amazon, and listen to music you've purchased from Amazon. And I expect you'll be able to use apps you've purchased from the Amazon app store. So, we're no doubt looking at an Android Kindle tablet designed to compete with the iPad.

They're also reportedly coming up with a software update that will enable you to read library books on existing Kindles. I wouldn't be surprised if they also offered a next gen e-ink reader to compete with the Nook and Kobo Touch readers.

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