E-book readers are actually fighting for shelf-space and the biggies in the business include the Nook from Barnes and Noble, Amazon’s Kindle 2 and Kindle DX, Sony’s Daily Edition and New Edition. You have been waiting for that whopping discount which you will certainly avail of as an early bird. They are all trying to outdo each other with path-breaking features and an affordable price tag. Having done a thorough research on these criteria, you have almost decided on which device to go for. Chances are that you are missing out on the e-Reader format. Did you think of it? If not, this is a must-read for you.
Let’s do a quick run-through of your probable choices. Nook, Sony’s Daily Edition as well as the New Edition all support the Adobe PDF format as well as EPub. Created by Adobe Systems, PDF stands for Portable Document Format, specially created for document exchange. EPub is for resizable and reflowable text, which means that the text display can be optimized for the particular display device.
All that the e-Reader format does is that it allows the e-book reader to read a specific file format. Talking of file formats, the audio format, better known as mp3 format is the most common format in all such devices. In addition to having the mp3 format, the online bookstores are resorting to both PDF and EPub formats to distribute text-based content and more importantly, bring free content to its readers.
Taking advantage of the immense amount of public domain (or free) content has not always been the priority of the manufacturers. At the onset, things looked a lot different. Both Sony and Amazon dived head first into the e-book reader market depending primarily on their proprietary (or own) protected file formats. Sony went along with the .1rf extension and Amazon played safe with homegrown AZW format for its Kindle. Using its own proprietary format, Amazon also sells AZW compatible e-books on their online store. The PDF format was virtually missing from both. If you were looking for the PDF format, you would have to be ready to churn out extra dollars for the Amazon DX.
The Amazon Kindle supports the Mobipocket format which ushers in a series of advantages like page-turning with a tap of the stylus, book-marking facility for quick return as well as annotating and highlighting text portions. It also allows you to create your own reading ambience with your favorite background color, suitable font size and type. You can also switch to full screen mode and scroll through images with the Image Viewer. Not ready to miss the bus, Sony came up with a free software update for its PRS 505 Reader.
If critics were complaining about certain flaws in its Kindle, Amazon tried to put all criticism to rest by launching the new and much improved Kindle 2, which is a few notches ahead of its predecessor as far as features were concerned. With Kindle 2, Amazon chose to go for Mobipocket for free content and carried on with its proprietary AZW format.
And if you have been wondering what’s keeping Sony quiet, your answer came in the unveiling of Sony’s New Edition. And what have you, Sony went for PDF and EPub support. All this while Amazon thought that offering e-Reader discounts would bring all readers rushing to their stores. Sony went on to match the Amazon prices of bestsellers and increased the number of titles available at the Sony Book Store. What came as a huge surprise was the package, replete with all the new features, priced at $199, this being the entry-level offer.
Surprises were not quite over yet. Barnes and Noble launched the Nook, the coming-of-age handheld e-book reader with wireless connectivity, color touch screen with navigation – both intuitive and easy. It was supported by PDF and EPub format, not restricting you to purchasing books only from Barnes and Noble. You have a Nook from Barnes and Noble, yet you can buy books from multiple vendors, appeared to be a brave move from the high-end booksellers.
Amazon, Sony or Barnes and Noble, you could choose any which, according to the features and the offer price. Also, do not overlook the e-Reader format and get swept away by the whopping discount. Each facet matters as you make up your mind to surely get yourself an e-book reader.
Sovan Mandal is the senior tablet and tech corespondent for goodereader.com. He brings a international approach to news that is not just applicable to the North American market, but also Asia, India, Europe and others. Sovy brings his own writing flavor to the website and is interested in Science Fiction, Technology and Writing. Any questions, send an email