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The Big Yellow Book

Seeing the World from Both Oculars-- a Bananaslug's Journal

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Barnes & Noble Fights Back-- is this a Kindle killer?
In the wake of the potentially disastrous revelation that Amazon.com not only had the power to remove ebooks from purchasers' Kindles, but actually would do so, contrary to their own Terms and Conditions of Sale, Barnes and Noble has announced a hugely expanded "every device" ebook catalog.

The Financial Times reported:

Barnes & Noble bookstore chain on Monday unveiled its challenge to Amazon’s Kindle e-book service with an expanded online store selling more than 200,000 e-book titles for both laptop computers and mobile devices.

The chain also said it would provide the e-book store for a wireless portable e-reader being developed by Plastic Logic, a UK-based technology company, that is scheduled for launch next yearThe Barnes & Noble service will also provide free access to about 500,000 titles out of copyright available on Google Books, bringing the total number of titles to more than 700,000.

Read the rest of the story...

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I like the idea of Kindle getting some competition. The entire 1984 and Animal Farm fiasco is going to hurt them, even though they had legal reason to do so.

The idea of a company yanking something I rightfully paid for away from me at a later date is confounding... I bought it, I own it.

Actually, I'd say the Kindle killer already is here. But it lacks real e-book reading software.

The iPhone is not the Kindle killer

Unfortunately, the iPhone isn't going to kill ebook readers. As eInk becomes cheaper, ebook readers are going to be like cell phones, yes, in that magazines, publishers, bookstores, etc. will simply GIVE you one, if you subscribe to two years of the magazine, or whatever replaces newspapers, or the publisher's ebook of the month club. Eventually, the flexible eInk pad will take over. Cell phones, even the iPhone, have to have a relatively small form factor that does not lend itself to reading...and I read every day on my Blackberry with mobipocket...

Re: The iPhone is not the Kindle killer

Yep. I love my iPhone, but I ain't reading anything on it. Plus, the power hoggery of it and other aspects simply don't make it anything like an eBook. I know how I'd design an eBook reader, and it's ALMOST possible, but not quite yet.

Re: The iPhone is not the Kindle killer

I read on my Blackberry, but that's because I travel so much and read so fast. I much prefer actual books. As soon as I can have an ebook reader that as much as possible provides an analogous experience to a real book, I'm done with real books. Note, I don't say it has to have the _same_ experience, just an analog of one.

Re: The iPhone is not the Kindle killer

No. The Kindle and other specialist e-book reading devices will remain, but they will be just that - specialist devices. The MP3 player market was far larger and more mature, but the convergent devices (like the iPhone) is taking over. The same is true for cameras, except for the real high-end, and that was an even more mature market than the MP3 one. Lets not mention the PDAs of old.

Also, I can imagine a bifurcated market here among the specialist e-reader devices. One is the "free" devices, which are locked down to a particular newspaper, publisher or distributor. Another is the "general" one, which accepts books and texts from any source, and does it easily. But it'll be expensive, compared to a convergent solution.

Now that I think of it, I believe the real clincher here is the provider one - from where do you get your books. The beauty of the iPod was that it was never tied to any particular provider via DRM (the iTMS was always a sideshow in this regard). The various attempts to market a proprietary system (like Sony did) crashed and burned. But with e-books, we don't yet have a true mass-market DRM-free system in place (which is a damned shame, given what Webscriptions have managed to prove).

Re: The iPhone is not the Kindle killer

With the announcement from B&N this morning, we may have one. 200,000 to 700,000 titles makes a market. And since they are "every reader friendly" and since most of the Google books, and lots of Fictionwise (which B&N own, now) have no DRM, we're getting close to critical mass.

The pricing of books though, is telling. I note they're not even trying to compete. Really we need a model - soon or 'name' authors will do it themselves - where books are cheap and writers are actually getting a realistic share of cover price.

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