Sunday, September 26, 2010

iPad vs Kindle vs Nook vs Google Editions Part 2...

The battle for the digital reader continues.  Who will come out on top??
In part 1 of this blog we promised we would speak about Google Editions an ebook service which is supposed to be available any day now.  This service will not be based around any device.  It will be browser based.  This of course is just a beginning.  At first, it will be based around PCs to read off the computer screen.  This assumes that people enjoy reading books from a computer screen which has been shown by studies to not be true.

Also Google Editions at least in the beginning, will not sell out-of-print books.  You will not be able to download the book.  You will be able to read it as long as you have internet access.  In May there was talk of a possibility that certain publishers may allow you to download books.  If this is the case, they will be in the Adobe ACS4 format with digital rights management.  This format would support the much vaunted epub format used by Barnes & Nobles but NOT by Amazon.  The prices of the ebooks will depend on the policy of the publisher.  There are currently to models.  The model most publishers prefer is the so called, "agency model" where the publisher sets the price of the book as opposed to the online service that sells it such as the $9.99 model of Amazon.  Google Editions expects to begin with about 400,000-600,000 ebook titles available, with nearly 20,000 publishers involved.

So there are the basic facts about Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and Google plans for ebooks.  So who will come out of this the dominant force?

PREDICTIONS
The essence to the answer for the last question above depends on how many people decide that the iPad is good for reading books.  So many iPads have sold, that if most of the buyers decide it is the way they are going to read books, then it seems, Amazon and Barnes & Nobles will be in trouble.

For now, Barnes & Nobles seems to have a slight advantage above the rest, with their ability to lend certain ebooks to other Barnes & Noble readers who have the same device.  In all other respects, they match Amazon's features for its application for different devices.  In this area Apple seems to be behind in that they cannot share highlights or annotations across devices.  Another disadvantage Apple has is that it has no web cloud for its books.  They still follow the old model of saving your ebooks to your computer through iTunes backup.  Of course, if your computer crashes then so does all your data unless you have backed up THAT computer as well.


It is true that Apple could quickly catch up to that technology to add the sharing of annotations across all the different devices if they wished to.  Yet it seems that Apple is only marginally interested in ebooks.  They seem to have their ambitions set to higher profit ratios.  Of course Apple will follow where the customers lead so now we have come full circle - will customers want to read from an iPad despite the traditional limitations of LCD screens, being unreadable in the bright sunlight, causing glare thus tiring the eyes, etc.  What will they do?  Some have tried to predict this by seeing the number of apps that have been sold for ebooks.  Anyone who owns an iPad or iPhone knows that they normally have many more apps than they normally use.  So the sales of ebook apps alone may not be a decisive indicator.  Only time will give us the answer.  We will return to see what happens in a couple of months with the latest data.







3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Being an avid reader, English teacher, and lover of technology my vote is that the iPad is going to win out. Here is my logic. Let me begin by saying that that I own a Kindle, as well as an iPad. I don't own a Nook but used to shop in Barnes and Noble all the time until about 3 years ago. Plus I get a large portion of books from Google's Project Gutenberg. So it is fair to say I have some knowledge of all 4. As of now I do the majority of my reading on the iPad, which is shocking for me to say since I never wanted and iPad. I bought it for my wife and now I cant get enough of it. Here's the thing. As much as I love my Kindle, I find it too inconvenient to carry it around. The only time I rally read it is if I'm going to be reading outside ( the glare factor). I don't mind readiing on line, but I have no interest in reading a book when I cant mark where I left off. The Nook sounds great, but how long will it last, when Barnes and Noble's is fighting to NOT go bankrupt. That leaves the iPad. And since both the Kindle and Nook offer applications so you can read their books off the iPad, that means the iPad gives you access to ALL of them. So why bother with all the other devices. Get the one that is almost like having 4.

Guillermo Santamaria said...

I am sure your opinion is worth much more than two cents. Thanks for taking the time to express your views! Do you yourself own an eReader?

rc748 said...

After reading the review here and checking out the poll at http://nookvskindle.info, it seems like everyone is gravitating towards the Nook Color. From comments I have read on several blogs, several ereader owners say they would have purchased the Nook color if available when they purchased their unit, while others said they preferred the Nook Color, but could or wouldn't pay the additional $100.

I for one, am not convinced whether the color is worth the additional $100.

Just my $0.02 worth.