The e-Book Competition Heats Up

Offering competition in the marketplace is the American way–and the Japanese way too, apparently.

Sony has just announced that it will be adopting an open e-book format (called ePub) to help counter the early lead Amazon’s Kindle proprietary format has taken in the market. Those who buy e-books on Kindle can only read them on Kindle (or iPhone). The open ePub format will allow readers to buy e-books and read them on the device of their choosing.

David Pogue also brings us up to date on Barnes and Noble’s plans to compete with Amazon. He’s not very complementary–but he forgets that with B&N you don’t have to spend $300 or more on a new device. You can use the Blackberry or other screen you already own. So paying a couple extra bucks a book is not that bad a deal. You’d have to buy 150 e-books to make up what you’d spend buying a Kindle.

I mentioned here before that the e-book market needs more players in it than Amazon. Seeing Sony and Barnes & Noble in the mix is a healthy sign.

2 responses to “The e-Book Competition Heats Up”

  1. I am trying to make myself read on the BN reader. So far I haven’t been very successful. The experience on the iPhone BN reader is just not very satisfying and that’s me comparing it to the iPhone Kindle app. Pogue is actually rather kind to the BN reader in my view.

    I did try to find an e-book title to buy from BN but that was also unsuccessful. Anything I wanted that was not available for Kindle was not available for the BN reader. There was no price advantage.

    There were some recent out-of-print printed books I wanted and I did shop BN online but ended up buying from the Amazon site. Amazon was just easier.

    At the same time our family Kindle library has now grown to more than 100 titles. I think we will be adding more Kindles this year for some of our younger readers. Probably have to separate accounts soon though.

    I will look at new devices as they appear but I think for us to change from Kindle there would have to be something more offered. Right now I am not sure anyone competing even understands what that might entail much less offering it.

    As for the expense of the Kindle I really do not consider it expensive. I suppose that’s surprising because I do hear a lot of complaints about the cost of the Kindle. But the Kindle is one of the few things that I use that has no recurring fees for that use. I would probably have paid a little more for it to avoid those recurring fees in fact.

    Just my 2 cents.

  2. You’re right, Terry, that Kindle has lots of advantages. No continuing fees and easy, instant download are two key ones, for sure. We’ll have to see if someone can top them.

    Andy