October 27, 2010
If you haven’t been paying attention, the whole ebook world is about to become very interesting. Here’s a quick summary of the most recent developments.
Amazon Kindle - A few months ago, Amazon introduced their newest Kindle book reader. The 3.0 version is physically smaller, but with the same screen size as the previous version. The version with 3G internet built in costs $189. The entry-level Kindle costs $139…and dangerously close to that all important $100 mark. Once an ebook reader costs under $100, watch out! On a personal note…I purchased one of these. I read the Kansas City Star every morning using it, and can’t imagine going back.
Galaxy Tab – Sprint announced that they were entering the tablet computer contest with the Samsung Galaxy Tab. This new device is meant to compete directly with the iPad and runs on the Android operating system. The Galaxy Tab will cost $399 (plus $200 for an optional data plan). A similar iPad costs $629, and does not include a data plan. For ebook readers, this likely means that you’ll be able to read Amazon and Barnes & Noble content on this device.
Barnes & Noble Nook Color – Barnes & Noble broke a significant barrier when they announced that they will introduce a color screen on their newest Nook. The new version also resembles the iPad in other ways. It has a touch screen, an internet browser built-in, and costs $249. This is significant for ebook readers that want to read graphic novels and youth material since color and illustrations really matter for this type of content. The Nook Color is treading on the iPad’s tablet computer environment. It isn’t as fully featured as the iPad, but may be able to do most things the average ebook reader would want to do with an internet connection.
Amazon FINALLY got it! - When publishers allow them to do so, Amazon will start letting Kindle users share their content with other Kindle-owning friends. This is a critical step for libraries as the previous licensing agreements didn’t allow this, and all but prohibited libraries from buying Amazon content to loan to people. Since this is just a preliminary announcement, it is hard to see how this will play out for libraries and for people who like to share books. But, as my friend David King says, when it comes to technology openness is always better.
Steven V. Potter
Director of Libraries