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eBook Reading

Mon May 19, 2008 - 2:11 PM EDT - By Jennifer Chappell


I've been reading eBooks since I got my first Palm device, a Tungsten E. Before then, I'd only read hardback and paperback books that I'd bought in a store, online or that I'd borrowed from the library.

I'd much rather carry a number of eBooks on my Treo or Centro than lug around an actual stack of real paper books. I love reading eBooks on my Palm devices because the devices are small and light. I can whip my Treo out of my purse and start reading in an eBook anywhere I go. I can also read in bed at night as the screen is backlit. And there's no rustling paper sounds of real pages turning to irritate my husband.

Since I bought my Treo, a number of eReader devices have come along. There's the Sony Reader, the Amazon Kindle, and now the Astak E-Book Mentor, which is an eInk eBook reader.

Mike Cane has written an interesting article entitled, "eInk eBook Readers: They're All Dead, Jim!". Mike talks about the $150 eInk E-Book Mentor and about Teleread reporting on the announcement by Readdle that it plans to release a native iPhone app for storing and reading office documents and eBooks on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Readdle is a Web-based application for transfering, organizing and viewing documents on the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Mike says that with the iPhone getting the Readdle app and that if the price of the EDGE iPhone were to drop to $199 with an AT&T subsidy:

why would anyone in their right mind want to spend $400 for an Amazon Kindle, $300 for a Sony Reader, or even $150 for the E-Book Mentor?

That's a very good question! And I just read on the MobileRead forums last week that Martin Gorner, the President & CEO of Mobipocket, announced at the IDPF conference that by the end of the year, Mobipocket will release updated readers for the various platforms, as well as release a new reader for the Apple iPhone.

MobileRead forum member Nate the great, who started the thread, stated:

Mr. Gorner also said that sales of Mobipocket format e-books have doubled since last year, while giving a breakdown of users by device. I wasn't quite fast enough to get all the data, but I can tell you it's 43 percent Windows Mobile, 23 percent Palm, 6% proprietary (iRex iLiad, Pepper-Pad, etc). The number of Palm users is shrinking, both as a percentage and as an absolute number.

I was sad to read that the number of Palm users is shrinking. I imagine the number is shrinking because of the WM devices that have larger screens now. I'm sure it's much more enjoyable reading eBooks on a larger screen. I still enjoy reading eBooks on my Treo and Centro though.

When the iPhone gets an eReader app on it, I can imagine that the number of Palm users will shrink even more. The iPhone's screen is just gorgeous. I love watching videos and movies on mine and I'm sure I'd love reading eBooks on it as well.

jkOnTheRun also talks about the iPhone getting the Mobipocket eBook client and asks what it means for the Amazon Kindle:

After all, the Kindle format is a DRM-tweaked version of Mobipocket's format, so there's a key partnership between the two organizations. The iPhone and iPod Touch user base is far and away larger than that of the Kindle, which is great for the eBook market, but may hurt Kindle sales in the long run. Of course, the Apple products certainly have a smaller screen when compared the Kindle, but they offer connectivity options as well as a simple e-commerce experience through the iTunes store. Could the Kindle burn out even before sales get stoked?

For now, I'll just stick with reading ebooks on my Treo and Centro. I have to admit that when the Amazon Kindle first came out, I was interested and read up on it. But I just couldn't justify spending $400 on a device for the sole purpose of reading ebooks, blogs, and newspapers. That would just be an extra device to tote around. I know that sounds unbelievable coming from a gagdet freak like myself. If the eReaders out there did something other than read ebooks, I might buy one. I'd rather have a device that does more than one thing though.

I used to carry a paper book with me when going somewhere. I also used to carry a separate cell phone along with a separate Palm PDA. Times have changed though. My Treo/Centro is my main phone plus it's an organizer, MP3 player, picture viewer, and my ebook reader. It's all I need rolled into one sweet little device.

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