Ever since Amazon released the first version of Kindle, the popularity of eBook reader and ebooks has surged.
Amazon Leads the Way in eReading
Amazon transformed the way we read by making it convenient to carry thousands of books on a single compact device. Major eBook reader device providers such as Amazon-Kindle, Barnes and Noble-Nook and Sony Reader have gained immense popularity due to this simple fact.
Although almost all of them use the e-Ink technology to render their display, each of these eBook reader device providers have their own specialties. Let us quickly see how the models provided by various providers differ from each other and which one may suit your requirements.
In this article, we only review the following devices:
- Amazon Kindle Series – Amazon started the fad and flare of eBook readers with its much hyped-about Kindle series of eBook readers. Fans of the Kindle consider it to be the “iPod” of eBook reading.
- Nook by Barnes and Noble – A very close competitor to Amazon is Barnes and Noble. With Amazon releasing its eBook reader and a vast library of eBook suites, Barnes and Noble had to follow suite with its own eBook reader series named the Nook.
- Sony Reader Series – Sony by itself, was not into the business of selling books and content, until it saw the growing opportunity in the eBook reader segment. The company tied up with Google and other libraries to provide eBook content, and used its expertise in electronic products to develop the hardware.
With the background of these companies, we quickly review how the products from these major eBook reader providers fare on different parameters.
You may get floored with the hardware features and aesthetics of eBook reader hardware provided by various eBook reader device providers. However, it is important to understand the source of eBooks to which you will have access through each of these devices.
Amazon scores the highest with the largest number of eBooks available through its Kindle store site. Even prior to launching Kindle, a large collection of books and a great relationship with publishers, Amazon managed to digitize a humongous number of physical books with copyright agreements with authors and publishers. This gives them a very large collection of over 2 million book titles and growing at a rapid pace.
Barnes and Noble too leveraged on its book e-tailing network to serve content for its eBook reader – the Nook. The company claims over 2.5 million titles and publication available through its network.
Sony reader on the other hand, relies on its tie-up with Google Books to provide free as well as paid books to their devices.
Memory Capacity and Expandability
While Kindle is rich in features, it suffers from lack of memory expandability. It is surprising that even the latest model – The Kindle DX, lacks an expansion slot. The onboard memory can give upon 3,500 books in a single go.
Barnes and Noble’s Nook allows you to store up to approximately 1,500 books on its built-in memory. There is also an extendable memory slot available to enable you to store more.
Sony eReaders have up to 2GB memory, with expansion slots that are compatible with either Sony Memory Stick, or an SD card.
Amazon provides 3G wireless connectivity through a feature named Whispernet that allows books to be purchased and downloaded directly to the device in 60 seconds.
Barnes and Noble nook has a similar service that provides access of eBooks through 3G with AT&T.
Sony eReader provides access to a limited 100,000 books of the Sony eReader store through the wireless connection. There are many more public domain books available through Google books and other sources, which can be uploaded to the device through USB cable connection.
As a user of eBook reader, there are many features that you can check with each of the available models. Some of them may have enhanced features that match your exact requirement and hence may be a better buy it over others.
For instance, Barnes and Noble nook boasts of a color screen, while Kindle has perhaps the best screen contrast and closest resemblance of its display to a physical book.
In case you are looking at a very large collection of eBooks, then Kindle could be the right choice with the most number of eBooks in its collection.
Sony eReaders on the other hand are preferred for their compact form factors and its aesthetic value like all Sony products.
Before buying your eBook reader, hence, our advice would be to think about your actual usage of the device first and then look for the right brand, given the blend of features each one possesses.