Category Archives: e-readers
So I’ve been back at my thesis (since it’s pretty much do-or-die at this point) and figured out the following things:
- How to take screencaps with the Nook Color (push the home/’n’ button and the minus (-) volume button at the same time; small walkthrough here)
- The actual dimensions for the NookColor’s display, in order to use as much screen space as possible
- Calibre‘s conversion tools allow me to play with the margins of the .epub file, so none of my images will be truncated (…for now)
- Sigil is still annoying, but I can’t live without WYSIWYG (… for now)
Once I have more substantial updates with the thesis, I’ll post more of my progress to the appropriate page here. Finally getting work done, jeez!
Today’s DBW roundtable discussed standards – more specifically, a bunch of acronyms I need to begin to memorize, including ISTC, ISNI, NISO, IDPF, BISG, and GS1. (My head is spinning.)
An interesting point that I asked and had wonderfully answered by Todd Carpenter of NISO dealt with Amazon’s proprietary standard for its e-reader (.AZW) and how that would influence EPUB3’s development and use. Carpenter responded, essentially, that the value of EPUB stems from its ability to be used in different distribution channels. This in itself is valuable to publishers – you reach more devices through those channels, and in turn, contact larger audiences. Laura Dawson of Firebrand Technologies asserted that Amazon moving to accept EPUB on its devices is not happening anytime soon; Joshua Tallent agrees.
And why would it? This question boggled me because yes, Amazon is doing well without reading EPUB, and conversions from EPUB to .mobi/.azw can still happen through KindleGen. While I in general don’t particularly want a Kindle and don’t see myself using one in the future, the fact that it still doesn’t read EPUB bothers me. It bothers a lot of people because Amazon is ignoring a standard. But should we fault Amazon for ignoring what’s becoming considered a universal standard (as I see it) and creating their own?
This move bothers me as a reader (if I were a Kindle user) because I potentially have fewer options. I am limited to what’s available in the Amazon Marketplace unless I take to converting titles myself.
This move also bothers me as someone looking to become involved in ebook production because, hey, it means more work for me – work that is essentially unnecessary. But I suppose you can argue that work is still going to be there because, lo and behold, every e-reader renders an EPUB file in their own way.
Even though there are more people using the Kindle than other readers, I still think EPUB has the edge. Though the question that still lingers in my head is, who really wants EPUB? I am guessing this audience is somewhat limited (among average readers); I doubt the average Kindle user knows what EPUB even is. Though I could be wrong on both counts!
Say whaaaaaat? The plot thickens! Courtesy of Publisher’s Weekly:
The Story HD is an e-ink device with wi-fi connectivity and beginning July 17 it will be priced at $140 and sold exclusively through Target stores. (emphasis added)
No kidding. $140 to compete with one of Amazon’s cheapest Kindles on the market. So it’ll be out in the wild… next Sunday? That’s odd. I hadn’t heard of this e-reader until now – not even speculation (though there are likely many reasons for that). And wait, Target?! Target? Even odder! I can see the Story HD in multiple retail sites – but an exclusive agreement with Target? That made me do a double-take.
But let’s continue:
But while the iriver Story HD is priced competitively, its design (which resembles the Amazon Kindle 2) and basic technology may seem a bit dated to consumers. Google eBooks is releasing its own e-reading device at a time when B&N (Nook Simple Touch) and Kobo (Kobo Touch Edition) have both released smaller (5”) black and white touchscreen e-ink devices with increased processing power and with social reading software aimed at heightening the enjoyment of reading.
The device reminds me of a huge calculator designed by someone from Apple waaaaay back when. It looks… okay. I’m just surprised they hadn’t tapped into the touchscreen UI already, but I guess even Google has to start somewhere. The pixel density is nice, though:
It has a 6 inch screen and is said to have 63% more pixels than other e-readers, offering sharper, more legible text and images. The device is said to have a more powerful processor (faster page-turns) and iriver claims the battery will last more than a month (6 weeks) on a single charge.
Now that most of the e-readers out there are touting a battery life of over one month (move over, Kindle) it’s getting much more difficult to discern which one of the devices is the mightiest. I think it’s going to come down to whether readers want to solely read or be able to do other things like browse the Web, play apps, listen to music, etc. Not sure where Google’s entry lies just yet.
It’s amazing how intense the battle has become between the various companies slinging their latest devices for reading e-books. I remember the exact moment when I first heard about the Amazon Kindle. In fact, I said, “Really? That would never sell.”
… yeah, don’t put me in charge of business predictions, folks.
As you know, the Kindle is the leading e-reader among buyers. In 2010, the Kindle sold about 22 million units. Meanwhile, major-minor players like Barnes & Noble and Borders tried to play catch-up with their own respective launches. Then Apple’s iPad hit, and while iBooks makes it seem like a major player in the game, the fact that it’s more tablet than e-reader places it within an entirely different arena.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the Nook and Kobo – in fact, I own a NookColor and love it to pieces. I never liked the Kindle for aesthetic reasons; I don’t like black text on a gray background, the Kindle does look like a huge calculator, and while eInk is really neat, I’m not crazy about it. I know a lot of my preferences stem from the fact that I’m a cartoonist and love the world of color too much – hence my current e-reader of choice.
For whatever reason, though, the Kindle has become insanely popular and continues to have a strong hold on the e-reader market. I see people reading all the time on their Kindles while riding the T – as a native Miamian residing in Boston, it is a lovely thing to witness on public transportation.
But what about the Kobo?
Honestly, I don’t know much about it. I thought Barnes & Noble had a lot of work to do to compete with the Kindle, but the Kobo is in an even worse spot. The company is doing good things, though: as a result of its “Read On Revolution,” Kobo donated 100 of its devices to a high school, as well as $3,000 worth of e-books.
Additionally, according to The Toronto Star,
In the U.S., Amazon.com’s Kindle is the market leader with a 41 per cent share, followed by Barnes & Noble at 27 per cent. Kobo ranks third somewhere “in the double digits.”
What are “double digits”? At least 10 percent, I guess. But Kobo needs to step up its game in order to really compete with Nook and Kindle. I have a pretty extensive selection of e-books through B&N, as well as magazines. Oh, and apps, including one of the angry bird variety.
What does the Kobo bring to the table?