Monday, March 07, 2011

E Readers

As I am a gadget hound, I am naturally interested in e-readers. These are devices with varying levels of functionality, the primary being reading books. Any multitude of devices can be used to read electronic books. Some of these, I already have access to and include the Apple Touch and Palm.

The devices I am referring to now are “dedicated” devices and use e-ink rather than color LCD and navigation features to reproduce a natural reading experience without frequent charging, complex navigation and overwhelming feature sets.

Market Share:
Amazon Kindle: 50%
Apple Ipad: 32%
Sony Reader: 5%
Barnes & Noble Nook: 5%

I present the market share only to reinforce that in digital devices, the market leader usually becomes the long term device of choice, while the market laggards become Betamax. If I were to purchase a device, I would choose the Kindle because my sister has one and we could share books and she could probably get me access to even more books than I could find at the library. The only downside to the Kindle is that it does not support Epub books (those that I can check out from the library).

However, given my diverse interest in books, I am happy to continue to check out books from the library in print format and reserve the Kindle for books I intend to purchase. I currently purchase about 3-4 books per year and am not thrilled about increasing my bookshelf space. Some of these purchases are out of print books that does not necessarily get me anywhere with the Kindle.

I must state the Sony and Barnes & Noble devices appear to be better products in terms of formats supported and expandability. Similar to the original Palm devices, they seem ahead of their time. I of course have learned my lesson with the Palm, Dell DJ and other one off devices that are museum pieces at this point. If the library offerings continue to grow and the Kindle does not offer support, I can always purchase a second reader as the prices will certainly continue to erode.

1 comment:

Stu said...

My conspiracy theory is that the e-reader push is the book-publishing industry's way to get people to buy more books rather than go to a used books store, pass-around between friends or go to a library.

Though it seems inevitable that I will have to relent and buy an e-reader, I'm still trying to live a little longer in denial.

I don't see how the current readers reproduce the "natural reading experience" - unless my usual reading experience is just unnatural.

Anyway...resistance is futile I guess.