Is a phone an e-reading device?

There was a post on Digital Book World today that caught my attention. The headline read: “Apple Pumps Another 60 Million E-Reading Devices Into Market.”

Whoa. Sixty million. Pretty impressive. The problem is, Apple doesn’t actually make a dedicated e-reading device. And, sure enough, buried in the middle of the short piece are the words:

… publishers should be more interested in the 16 million iPads and nearly 44 million iPhones the company sold last quarter. Each one is a potential ebook reading device.

Yes, note those words. “A potential ebook reading device.” While you can arguably read on a tablet sized device, thinking of a cell phone as an reader is a totally different story.

Personally, as someone who defines an e-book reading device as a device designed or purchased primarily for reading e-books, I find the article’s title rather misleading. Few of us actually purchase our phones for reading. I will certainly argue that there is a huge difference between reading on your phone while standing in line at the grocery store and using your phone for your primary e-reader, particularly if you are a heavy reader of e-books. And I say this as someone who owns a large-screen Galaxy Note II that has almost every e-reading app you can think of installed on her phone! While you certainly can read on your cell phone, using it as your primary e-reader for any length of time is a less than satisfying experience.

I would be interested in seeing current statistics on this as the reading landscape is changing.

So, how about you? Do you use your phone as a primary e-reader?

 

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Penguin pulls Kindle Books from libraries

I wanted to sit down and write my impressions of the Kindle Fire now that I have had a few days to play with it. Instead, I was shocked to find that Penguin has pulled its Kindle books from the OverDrive system.

According to OverDrive:

Last week Penguin sent notice to OverDrive that it is reviewing terms for library lending of their eBooks.   In the interim, OverDrive was instructed to suspend availability of new Penguin eBook titles from our library catalog and disable “Get for Kindle”  functionality for all Penguin eBooks.   We apologize for this abrupt change in terms from this supplier.  We are actively working with Penguin on this issue and are hopeful Penguin will agree to restore access to their new titles and Kindle availability as soon as possible.

The Digital Shift is reporting that Penguin is saying the new policy is not specific to Kindles, but governs all versions of their ebook titles across the board.

Libraries and patrons are telling a different story, however. In an Amazon forum on the subject, some patrons are pointing out that only Kindle versions are disappearing. Some libraries have had as many books vanish from their digital shelves. It is important to note that those are books purchased with library funds (generally taxpayer funded).

I don’t think that it is coincidental that this is happening when Amazon is trying to start a Kindle Owner’s Lending Library. There has been a lot of tension about ebook lending since Big Six publisher Harper Collins limited libraries to only 26 check-outs of their titles.  Many people (myself included) are still boycotting Harper Collins  until that limitation is resolved.

Penguin has already been facing criticsm over its Book Country “service,” which many authors believe does nothing but take more money from authors.

But to single out the popular Kindle smacks not only of fear and greed, but a form of censorship as well. And that’s not something that sets well with me. Sure, I could read books on one of my other devices: I’ve got an iPod, a Nook. I could read any format on one of the apps on my android tablets. But I will not be told which device I have to read their ebooks on. I already boycott MacMillian and Harper Collins because of their practices. I already boycott books priced over $9.99. I will be happy to add Penguin to the list as well.

Back to the Future of eReading: Kindle Beginnings

With all the recent Kindle news, I thought it might be interesting to look back at the very first Kindle and the eBook climate at that point in time.  Here’s Jeff Bezos on the Charlie Rose Show in 2007 talking about the first Kindle and what Amazon was trying to accomplish.  So much has changed since then, it is unbelievable!

An Ad supported Kindle

On today’s Amazon home page  – the announcement for the ad supported Kindle for the all-time low price of $114. The device feature ads on the screen savers and the home page. It also has special coupons and offers for customers accessed through the Kindle. The new Kindles start shipping in May.

You can read more in this article from the Associated Press.

If ads on the books are the ereaders of the future, I think I will pass. Especially with some of the low prices on Nooks and Kobo readers that have been available lately. Terribly disappointing, Amazon.

The eReader of the future…?

One of the questions everyone asks is when will there be a color Kindle?  By all accounts, color is the next eagerly awaited big feature for dedicated eReaders. Are we there yet? No. But as this video from Sony shows, the research is well under way.

So, what’s on your wish list for an ereader feature? Is it color? Video? Leave a comment and let me know!