E-Book Readers – Getting Beyond The Hardware
Article by Hamish Hayward
The e-book market grew dramatically in the last twelve months or so – and a great deal of the credit for that must go to Amazon. Their Amazon Kindle e-reader has been a huge success for the company. The original Kindle was released in November of 2007, but it was the release of the Kindle 2.0 in February of 2009 that saw the e-book market start to take off in a serious manner. When Amazon followed up with the larger Kindle DX edition in June last year, the market for e-books seemed to sky-rocket.
The Kindle quickly established itself as Amazon’s best selling product. Over the 2009 festive period the Kindle also became the “most gifted” Amazon product ever. Needless to say, competing manufacturers decided to either launch e-book readers of their own or, where they had them, to update existing readers in order to secure some share of what was effectively a new consumer market to be tapped into. This was good news for customers as the increased level of competition quite naturally produced a downward pressure on prices in addition to affording consumers more choice.
Faced with a greater degree of choice, potential e-book reader buyers, many of whom will be buying their first ever e-book reader, require information to assist them to draw a comparison between the different readers currently available on the market. Certainly, there are a huge number of reviews available online which compare the advantages and disadvantages of readers such as the Kindle and the Nook, the iPad and the Sony Daily Edition. However, a comparison of e-book readers based solely upon the hardware could be missing the point of the whole e-book reader experience.
As a rule, and as is the case with most electronic gadgets, the most recently released model will tend to have somewhat better functionality and will typically include some features which may be lacking in readers which were released earlier. Aside from the technology of the hardware, factors such as the readability of the display, ease of use, the number of books available, the price point of books and how easy it is to buy and download books need to be taken into consideration.
Some of these considerations are subjective ? but others can be objectively analysed and taken into account when choosing which e-reader is the best buy for you. For example, the Kindle would seem to have an advantage regarding the number of available Kindle books. Currently there are in excess of 500,000 books on offer for Kindle users to enjoy – and the number is being added to at an average rate of around 500 new volumes every day. It seems as if the Kindle also has something of an advantage as far as e-book costs are concerned.
The New York Times recently took a snapshot of e-book prices based upon a list of 10 book titles. These were selected form the NYT’s ten best books of 2009 and the list included 5 non-fiction and 5 fiction titles. The price to buy these titles was compared for the three main e-book readers ? the Kindle, the Sony Daily Edition and the Nook from Barnes and Noble. Buying the ten books for the Kindle resulted in a total cost of 6.87 ? an average of .69 per book. The same ten books bought for the Sony Daily Edition resulted in an average price of .26 and Barnes and Noble’s Nook worked out at a markedly greater average price of .29 per book.
On the evidence of these figures, anyone who is in the habit of reading a book a week could potentially save almost 0 annually by choosing the Kindle instead of the Nook. Your new Kindle reader could effectively pay for itself – and still leave you with a few dollars to buy a few books – in less than a year. It’s worth noting that the big publishing houses and the book sellers are involved in quite a bit of discussion right now. It’s almost certain that e-book pricing policies will change in future – the market is new and volatile – so double check current price levels before you come to a final decision. However, it seems patently obvious that anyone who is in the market for an e-book reader would do well to consider both the availability of e-books and their cost prior to making a final decision as to which e-book reader to choose.
About the Author
Discover the Amazon Kindle e-book reader for yourself. It’s the market leader for good reason – and there’s a vast selection of Kindle books available for you to pick from.