Archive for E-Reader Wars
Major companies in the e-reader sphere are jockeying for position in the cutthroat world of retail sales. It looks like Target has had enough of these companies lowering their prices and has slashed their entire inventory. This has resulted in many current generation e-readers to have their prices severely lowered as Target seeks to liquidate the existing stock. This creates a great avenue for the average customer to save some money and get a fairly modern device. The downside is that Target is seemingly getting out of the e-reader game altogether.
Target initially got behind e-readers in a big way. It carried Amazon, Barnes and Nobe, Kobo, Sony, and iRiver. The company has seemingly stopped carrying devices from all those companies due to its growing relationship with Apple and slim profit margins on hardware slashed to the bone.
The iRiver Story HD was released in 2011 and had an exclusive relationship with Target to be the sole distributor in the USA. It hit the shelves at a fairly competitive price of $129.99. Sales were lackluster to say the least and the company decided to slash the price down to $99.99. It was further reduced to $49.99 and was officially discontinued a short-time later.
The Amazon Kindle has been available at Target since May of 2010 and has enjoyed tremendous success at the retail chain. The company started way back with the second generation Kindle and has released all of their current models, including the Fire. In May of 2012 the company suspended its relationship with Amazon due to a myriad of reasons. The main reason includes Target’s growing relationship with Apple, culminating in Target signing an agreement to give them better rates on the products if they axed Amazon. The other major facet was that Target hasn’t been making any money on digital content and making only a pittance on the hardware sale.
In October of 2011, Target entered into a relationship with Barnes and Noble to distribute the Nook line of e-readers and tablets. This was a savvy move for B&N because it took the Nook line outside of B&N’s own stores, so more companies in the USA were pushing the product. Target continues to sell the Nook line of readers, despite the fact it doesn’t do business with Amazon, iRiver, and others.
Canadian based Kobo has had a tumultuous relationship with the USA putting its line of devices on store shelves. Initially they had an exclusive agreement with Borders to sell their e-readers and for a while, things were good. Borders went out of business and its assets were sold in a New York Bankruptcy Court. Part of the assets in question included Kobo’s exclusive agreement with Borders, which Kobo vigorously defended. This prevented the company from actively marketing its devices with any other retailer, until the courts made up their minds. In early 2012, the Vox and Kobo Touch were made available Target, but this only lasted a few months. It seems many Target locations have discontinued these devices. You can find them on clearance right now at various stores in the USA at $50 or less.
It really seems like Target has had enough of e-readers and their slim profit margins. In a retail setting, e-readers do not really make much money for Target. The real money is in digital content and the retailers are left in the cold. Amazon deliberately sells the hardware at rock bottom prices, because the company knows that digital content is where the real money is. Speaking of digital content, Target is seeking to circumvent the lost sales in selling e-readers and make some money from selling ebooks. This new partnership comes courtesy of Livrada, that intends on offering gift-cards in over 1,700 locations in the USA to sell single novels and bestsellers in digital form. These cards will allow customers to buy digital content in the store and then have their books synced automatically to the e-reader of their choice. Most retail and supermarket chains make a hefty profit margin on pre-paid cards and the revenue is fairly certain.
Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon continue to war with each other to offer the most affordable e-readers. It was only a few years ago that the Kindle cost $229 and now you can get one for $79.00. When one company reduces the price, in the next few weeks the others follow suit. This creates a competitive landscape for independent companies like Onyx Boox, Pocketbook, and Bookeen, making it difficult to gain any traction in North America. They simply cannot afford to offer their products at the same prices as the big sellers. It is chiefly due to the fact that none of them have well developed digital ecosystem. They don’t make any money in selling ebooks, newspapers, and magazines to earn residual long-term revenue and cannot subsidize their hardware.
This pricing war, in the short-term, benefits customers immensely. Unfortunately, things are not so rosy at Target. Over the course of the next year, e-reader visibility will be severely hampered. It will get increasingly harder to find nationwide new readers released in the next few months. Your alternative is to deal with Shop e-Readers, eBay, or an another retail chain that carries them. There might not be a Barnes and Noble or Sony Store in every town in America, but everyone lives close to a Target.
It seems that Amazon is the book retailer that everyone loves to hate, from rival major book chains and mom-and-pop booksellers to the major players in the publishing industry, but the harshest words yet for the online retailer may have finally arrived. According to James Daunt, CEO of Waterstone’s, Amazon is the devil.
The UK-based Waterstone’s chain was bought by a Russian backer, but Daunt was brought on board this year to turn things around for the retailer, something Daunt has done by making the physical bookstore more of an engaging shopping experience rather than just a location for making book transactions. Daunt himself owns a small chain of six independent bookshops, so he is personally familiar with the common perception of consumers who browse in a bookstore then make their purchases online.
One of the steps that Waterstone’s has hinted at for its revitalization is the unveiling of its own e-reader device. Those who remember the aftermath of the Borders collapse may recall that not having its own specific digital reader was one of the things that many critics pointed to as its failure to embrace ebooks in the way that Amazon and Barnes & Noble did. The chain opted instead to invest in Kobo e-readers, and a similar comparison has been made in the case of Waterstone’s. Various rumors include the possibility that Waterstone’s would not launch its own device but that it would instead offer customers a UK-compatible repackaged version of the B&N Nook, although Kobo has also been mentioned.
In an interview in September, Daunt even speculated that the device Waterstone’s chooses to project will be available as early as this spring, a pretty ambitious time frame given that the retailer only began discussing the possibility of an e-reader after the buyout this summer and that the value of the company right now is only $50 million. That’s just under the low end of what Barnes & Noble spent to develop its own answer to the Kindle.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Video Comparison! Today we take a look at the Amazon Kindle 3rd generation and the iRiver Story HD! It is a battle of e-readers and ecosystems, with Amazon and Google going head to head!
In this comparison we mainly look at the physical hardware and ebook reading differences. Both of these devices look very similar with the full QWERTY keyboard, but there are some major differences. Check them out for yourself with our official Good e-Reader Video.
During the American Library Association Conference in New Orleans there was some interesting news coming out of the Barnes and Noble camp. It looks like they have partnered with one of the worlds leading distributor of books and ebooks, Baker and Taylor.
This new partnership mainly effects borrowing ebooks and audiobooks from libraries equipped with Axis 360. So what exactly is Axis 360? The software provides librarians with a collection development channel that bundles digital and physical content. Librarians can order content in one electronic shopping cart through B&T’s Title Source 3 Site, while patrons will have access to a broad array of content. According to B&T, digital content ordered through Axis 360 is activated in the library’s collection immediately after the order is placed. Beginning in the fall of this year, libraries using Axis 360 will have access to both ePub and spoken word audio titles, in addition to patron reviews and star ratings.
This looks like a solid new venture that appeals to the widely popular Barnes and Noble Nook line of e-readers. This seems like an exclusive USA program right now since Baker and Taylor is North Carolina based and there is no word if it will be available for libraries based internationally.
Welcome to another Good e-Reader Comparison Video! Today we look at the differences between the latest generation Kobo Touch and the older Kobo Wireless! Both of these e-readers are being marketed by Kobo and we compare them against each other.
This video is perfect if you have an older version of the Kobo Wireless and you want to know the benefits of upgrading to the latest generation model. We show you ebook page turn, how the store looks, and everything else. Check it out!
Both of these e-readers are the latest generation of touchscreen ebook readers and just came out recently. Many people have been asking us the difference between both of these devices. This video shows you comparisons such as ebooks, internet browser, settings, store, and more!
My life may very well be in mortal peril. I live on the edge, apparently unaware or unconcerned about the danger that I carry with me at all times encased behind an e-ink screen.
At least, Richard Stallman may see it that way. The author of a treatise exposing the inherent dangers of digital publishing has set out to convince the world that e-books are life-threatening, or at the very least a true concern in terms of the individual rights of readers under copyright law. According to Stallman, downloadable books do not carry with them the same individual rights that print books do, namely, the right to first resale, full ownership, and the protection and anonymity that comes with purchasing a hard copy text.
It might be tempting to laugh off Stallman’s concerns as anti-government paranoia, but his credentials as a pioneer in free software development makes him something of an expert in the area. As a mastermind behind GNU, which led to the creation of the general public licensed Linux operating system, and an alumnus of MIT’s AI lab, Stallman is an original hacker and longtime technological rights’ advocate. If anyone is qualified to speak out on the potential and unnecessary dangers embedded within digital publishing, it very well may be him.
Stallman’s key concerns appear to center around the loss of individual freedoms that may arise as the popularity of e-readers grows, all happening while digital content consumers remain unaware. His fears might seem more founded if government regulation was forcing the demise of traditionally published books or if authors were somehow being denied the many choices that come with publishing, especially in a climate with so many options for self- and e-publishing. O’Reilly Media, for example, has advanced the access of digital content by refusing to allow current methods of DRM in its catalog.
While even Stallman agrees that many of the individual limitations that result from the current design for e-books could be alleviated with the removal of artificially placed encryptions that are embedded in as much as 95% of current e-books, his argument would carry more weight in a market that didn’t allow consumers and authors to enact so much control over their literary content.
Qualcomm had a simple e-reader product at CES this year and it looked mighty fine but it looks like management was not very happy with the device and canceled it. Although the technology underneath the hood is still alive the company has decided not to move ahead with issuing its own e-reader.
Qualcomm instead of going forward with its own e-reader they are going to try and convince other companies to use their lower power technology rather then LCD and OLED.
CEO of Qualcomm said in a recent press address “We have a really interesting roadmap — we’re starting out on e-readers because we figured having E Ink as a competing technology was a good way to get started. But if you think about the power consumption of the screens that are out now [on tablets], they’re very bright OLED screens that use up a lot of the power of the battery. We don’t today have as vibrant color as an OLED display – but we have a roadmap that gets us to a much brighter color.”
It seems Mirasol technology will be the next war front the company fights in order to gain market share from competing lower power displays such as Pixel Qi.
One of the unsung presenters at the IDPF Digital Book Conference was Justo Hidalgo, from 24 Symbols. He spoke briefly during the Breakthrough Business Models keynote, but as far as business concepts go, 24 Symbols may be the next great thing in e-reading.
They don’t sell an e-reader device or convert formats. They don’t even sell e-books to their users. They sell the ability to read pages, and some of the time they’re even giving that away for free. That’s right, you read your book a few pages at a time. And you don’t own it.
Using a subscription model like Netflix for movies and Sweden’s music service Spotify, 24 Symbols allows its members to read any content from any device with connectivity. Rather than download actual e-books, members access unlimited pages of the titles.
That would be the same thing, right? Wrong. Rather than provide full content to its members, sales are tracked on the basis of how many pages are called up at a time. So why would anyone actually pay to not own a book? Not everyone has to.
The best thing about 24 Symbols’ subscription model is a concept they call Freemium. Much like tiered programs elsewhere such as Yahoo’s email service, the first level is completely free and allows the user to access pages of any title in the catalog while tolerating advertising on the screen. Readers who don’t wish to be inundated with advertising while trying to enjoy a good book can simply pay a monthly subscription fee, starting at 9.99 Euro (about $7) for a one-month sign-up, 19.99 Euro (approx. $14) for three months.
One of the unintended benefits of 24 Symbols’ model is the deterrence of e-book piracy. Besides not offering its members any downloadable file that can be shared via the internet or other devices, the concept itself deters file theft.
“We are giving people access to books for free, if they choose. Why would you buy a pirated e-book when you can have it for free, or for a very low cost? We took away the incentive to seek out illegally downloaded materials,” says Hidalgo.
One of the intentional effects of this methodology for e-reading can actually have a huge impact on small-press and indie authors. Publishing companies will be more likely to put their backlist on this kind of model because it is a great way to experiment with a new business idea without investing huge amounts of money in a new author or upstart e-reading idea. 24 Symbols was very adamant that, as profits are not based on full-scale sales of e-books, readers are seeking out the lesser known titles for their enjoyment knowing that if they don’t like this “unknown” author, they didn’t invest a lot of their limited book budget on the sale. The financial risk to the publisher and to the consumer, in this case, has been cleared.
The true design behind 24 Symbols is the ability to read content from anywhere, regardless of device or platform. One of the major questions buzzing at the IDPF conference was not the future of e-books, but the future of e-reader devices. With the rumored announcement that EPUB would truly be the industry standard very soon, the need for different devices shrinks. To avoid an all-out cellphone war, in which e-book retail platforms would have to literally give away their devices in order to attract customers who sign contracts, cloud-based reading from any device seems to be the answer to where e-readers might be heading in the near future: nowhere.
These two e-readers are the cream of the crop when it comes to starting kids off at an early age reading and developing language and number based skills. It makes learning fun! Both devices play animated ebooks and allow you to play games, listen to music and do a plethora of other tasks.
The first thing we do is compare the hardware against each other, we give you a 360 look at what the size difference between the two units. We also look at the screen sizes and how physically they are different.
We then take a look at the software aspect of things, what makes them unique and compare similarities. The Reading aspect is huge with us, because we are book lovers here at Good e-Reader! Personally I learned to read at a young age with those old ‘read along records.’ The new generation of books on both devices allow you to read along with it, or have the books read using a narrators voice. There are subtle nuances between both units, but you have to watch it to find out what they are!
Finally we compare the content distribution systems, how you purchase ebooks, how many are available and where can you buy them. For example, the V.Tech uses cartridges to load the content into the device. The IXL uses CD ROM based software that you load into it via the Control Panel software that comes with purchase.
If you are a parent with a young child and are trying to make up your mind on what the best unit is, this video will be very useful to you.
The Barnes and Noble Nook line of e-readers has been a runaway success for Barnes and Noble, today they claimed that over 650,000 newspapers and magazines have been sold via the Nook Color. We have reports today that Barnes and Noble is ceasing to manufacture the Nook 3G variant due to lackluster demand.
The Barnes and Noble Nook 3G was the first e-reader that the bookstore giant released early last year. It was then followed up by the Nook WIFI, which was much more affordable. Due to dwindling demand, because customers are gravitating towards the cheaper WIFI or the Nook Color, it looks like its all over for the Nook 3G.
Normally when a company ceases to make anymore units of a big success, they are planning a followup model. Could we perhaps see the next gen Nook 3G e-reader with a pearl display, such as the Sony PRS-650 has? We have not seen anything of note at the FCC lately, so only time will tell.
So if you are wanting to get the Nook 3G before they are sold out for good, we recommend doing it now! Our retail partner Shop e-Readers has a bunch in stock.
We just announced yesterday that Samsung was working on a new AMOLED Color display for the Samsung Galaxy Tad and other devices, now comes news that LG is showing off two different prototypes at FPD International in Japan.
The first model revealed was fully color e-ink around 9.7 inches and has a resolution of 800×600. The second model is also 9.7 inches and only features a non-color e-ink resolution of 1200×1200 and has as small strip of color on the bottom, around 200×600. You can compare this to the Barnes and Noble Nook, where the top half of the screen is e-ink and the bottom LCD Color/Touchscreen. Both screens display around 4,096 different colors in their resolution.
Remember, with color e-Ink or regular e-ink screens, they do not have a light source, like LCD screens do. They rely on ambient light, which are beneficial as you get no glare from direct sunlight. Color e-Ink tends to look a bit dull and has low contrast in comparison to LCD colors.
LG has not disclosed when these models might go on sale, or what companies might utilize this technology in future devices. We can surmise that the E-Reader Wars might heat up next year, when we see more Color e-Ink models debut. Speaking of Color e-Ink, check out the new Hanvon e-Reader coming out soon, one of the first pure color e-ink e-readers to come out.
Many people ask us what the differences are between the iPad and the Kindle. We break down all of the most important facets between the two. We compare page turns, responsiveness, ebooks and others.
We also address the most important factors that will influence your buying decision if you are purchasing it to read ebooks.