May 27, 2010

More eReaders Are Coming

At the beginning of the year, if you wanted to buy an ereader there were three main choices: the Amazon Kindle, the nook from Barnes and Noble, or a Sony Reader. Since then, the market for ereaders has exploded.

One of the new entries into market is the Apple iPad. Though developed as a mulit-function device that can surf the web, play games, and more, Apple made sure that the iPad can function as an ereader. Apple added the iBookstore to iTunes which gives iPad owners the ability to download ebooks direct to their device. While reviews of the iPad overall have been positive, reviews of it as an eReader have been mixed.

Another new eReader coming to market is the Kobo eReader. Developed through ebook retailer Kobo (which is partially owned by brick-and-mortar book retailer Borders), the Kobo eReader is basic: It doesn't feature a color touchscreen like the nook, nor does it feature wireless connectivity to download books like the Kindle or the nook. What it does have is a low initial price: $149.99, which is lower than the cheapest offering from Sony. With this low price and promotion through Borders, the Kobo eReader should be a popular device that will introduce many more people to ebooks.

A third new anticipated eReader is Spring Design's Alex eReader. The Alex eReader features a double screen display and is powered by Android like the nook, but the bottom color LCD is much larger. This allows the Alex eReader to run basic Android apps such as a web browser, email, and calculator apps, and also allows you to watch videos from sites such as YouTube. Early reviews have been generally positive; however many believe that because of the high price ($399), people would be better buying an iPad.

eBooks have seen tremendous growth over the past year. In 2009, ebook sales reached $169.5 million. No longer are ebooks and ereaders associated with a single store and device, like the Kindle. With the launch of the iPad and other new ereaders, ebooks sales will undoubtedly continue to grow.

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