The iRiver Story HD was a novel concept e-reader, allowing users to tap into the Google Books ecosystem. The main shortcoming was that the company only partnered with Target in the USA and did not make it available in international markets. It was the first e-reader that used the Google Books as a way to get millions of free books and over 100,000 bestsellers. Now that Google Books recently opened in Canada, it finally becomes a viable e-reader for international customers.
The iRiver Story HD feels like a clunkier version of the Amazon Kindle Keyboard. The form factor and visual aesthetics are eerily similar to its Amazon brethren, but lacks on the software side of things. It suddenly becomes a more viable reader for Canadians and other markets supporting the Google Books ecosystem.
The Story HD makes up for the shortcomings in terms of hardware with one of the best resolutions of eInk in the business. The e-reader features a six inch e-ink display with a tremendous resolution of 1024×768 pixels. It certainly packs a punch and you can see where they fit the HD into the selling point. Pictures and comic books look wonderful and very vibrant in comparison to other e-readers on the marketplace.
iRiver reached out to us and said that in the coming days there will be a firmware update dispatched that will allow Canadians to access the Google Bookstore. There are some drawbacks of course; the USA edition has over 100,000 bestsellers while the Canadian one has a paltry 5,000 books. Many famous authors are nowhere to be found because of licensing restrictions.
If you live outside the USA we recommend you purchase the iRiver Story from our retail partner Shop e-Readers! They have them in stock for the holidays and this device is perfect for people who want to get a ton of free content.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.