It feels like a new eReader is announced every month or so these days. The market that languished for years is now booming with new devices and a growing number of content sources. Perhaps eReaders are finally having their iPod moment.
Today Barnes & Noble is set to announce a new eReader — perhaps the rumored Nook device the NYTimes and Wall Street Journal leaked — which will be the third one attached to their eStore. Just a few weeks ago we got a glimpse at the IREX reader, a 3G-enabled device that will allow instant access to the B&N eStore. Earlier this year Plastic Logic announced their partnership with the bookseller and recently the large-screen device got a name: the Que.
B&N is certainly looking to one-up Amazon in the eReader department. Not only will they have three devices, but each has at least one feature that makes them compelling and will hopefully increase usability. Because they were developed by (different) independent companies, the readers aren’t locked to just the B&N eStore. With the EPUB format gaining more ground and more content distributors (Google Books and over 200 participating bookstores), consumers have more choices and publishers have more options. B&N still has the edge, as over-the-air purchases will likely be limited to their store.
Update: the nook has been officially announced. Not only will it have 3G connectivity through AT&T but also integrated Wi-Fi and a color touchscreen navigation panel.
Confused by the ever-growing eReader market? Check the table below for an overview of the devices, their capabilities, and (most importantly), their price.
|eReader||Kindle||Sony Reader Touch||IREX DR800SG||Nook
|Supported Formats||AZW, TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; PDF, HTML, DOC, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.||PDF, Microsoft® Word, BBeB Book® and other text file formats, EPUB/ACS4 and connection with Adobe Digital Editions. Unsecured MP3 and AAC audio files.||PDF, EPUB, and TXT files||PDF, EPUB, PDB/Fictionwise|
|Content Available From||Amazon.com||Sony eBook Store, Google Books, Powells.com, over 200 indie bookstores, public libraries.||Barnes & Noble eStore, over 200 booksellers that support EPUB||Barnes & Noble eStore, Google Books|
|Other Media||Newspapers, audiobooks, Wikipedia, New Oxford American Dictionary||Audiobooks||Newspaper Direct, Fictionwise, eReader. LibreDigital||Newspaper, magazine|
|3G Integrated||X||X||X (plus wi-fi)|
|eReader||COOL-ER Reader||Kindle DX||Sony Reader Pocket||Sony Reader
|Supported Formats||PDF, EPUB, FB2, RTF, TXT, PRC, HTML, MP3, JPG, and GIF.||AZW, PDF, TXT, Audible (formats 4, Audible Enhanced (AAX)), MP3, unprotected MOBI, PRC natively; HTML, DOC, RTF, JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP through conversion.||PDF, Microsoft® Word, BBeB Book® and other text file formats, EPUB/ACS4 and connection with Adobe Digital Editions.||PDF, Microsoft® Word, BBeB Book® and other text file formats, EPUB/ACS4 and connection with Adobe Digital Editions. Unsecured MP3 and AAC audio files.|
|Content Available From||coolerbooks.com, Google Books, over 200 booksellers that support EPUB.||Amazon.com||Sony eBook Store, Google Books, Powells.com, over 200 indie bookstores, public libraries.||Sony eBook Store, Google Books, Powells.com, over 200 indie bookstores, public libraries.|
|Other Media||Audiobooks, Sodoku||Audiobooks, radio programs, audio newspapers, magazines, blogs, news feeds||Newspapers, magazines, audiobooks|