Nook Color is the only “reader’s tablet,” straddling dedicated e-book readers like the Kindle and multipurpose tablets like the iPad. I was expecting tradeoffs. I wasn’t expecting its advantages.
The first advantage is the ease of the product in the hand. Seven-inch tablets aren’t just less expensive to produce than their ten-inch counterparts: they’re easier to hold, particularly when they’re as thin and light as the Nook Color (or NOOKcolor, as Barnes & Noble likes to style it). They’re easier to type on using a software keyboard than either a smartphone or a tablet.
In fact, text entry on the Nook Color may the best experience I’ve had using a software keyboard on any device. It’s light-years ahead of the Kindle’s shrunk-down hardware keyboard. The second advantage is some of the content. Barnes & Noble offers full-color children’s books and magazine subscriptions. The storefront and reading implementation are better here than anything offered by Apple or Amazon.
Apple could and should have owned this sector of the reading market. iBooks could do everything that Nook Color does — but if Apple TV has been a hobby, iBooks has been background noise for the computer company. They don’t do book retail or much care about it. And in magazines, they’ve pursued (or at least enabled) an infatuation with oversized, Adobe-made apps. Amazon has a decent excuse: it has doggedly pursued black-and-white E Ink reading, and made that experience best in-class.
Barnes & Noble has been able to leverage their position as a giant retailer of both children’s books and magazines to work with publishers to create a unified reading experience in each genre. Browsing magazines on a Nook Color is the same from one title to another, and the interface is similar (if not quite identical) to children’s books.
Magazines are nearly exact copies of printed issues, with full-color illustrations and advertisements. Now, there are a LOT of advertisements; if you’re as amazed as I am at the sheer number of ads most magazines pack into the front of their issues, the effect is, if anything, more uncanny when you’re flipping through on a seven-inch tablet.
However, you can read the magazines just for the articles, with a handy interface feature called “Article Mode.” It’s similar to what Safari and the Kindle offer for the web, but has an extra utility applied to magazines. You can even swipe from page to page staying in Article Mode, skipping from article to article.
There are a few small UI issues with Article Mode. The biggest is probably trying to shift from horizontal swiping (which is how you navigate from page to page in a magazine) to vertical scrolling (which is how you read through a column of text in article mode). Article Mode is also just flat text: if a magazine Q&A distinguishes between interviewer and interviewee by using different-colored text, all that formatting is stripped out in article mode.
In fact, in general, everything about transitioning between vertical and horizontal, landscape and portrait on Nook Color is probably more awkward than it needs to be. It has a built-in accelerometer, but doesn’t switch perspectives on every screen, just some of them.
The home-screen interface is portrait-only. Children’s books are landscape-only. Magazines and books are either — even though magazines and books have a different user interface. Children’s books let you use multitouch pinch and zoom; magazines really don’t. Web sites also come in both portrait or landscape — but this is where we get into the tradeoffs of the Nook’s seven-inch size.
On web sites, you quickly move from a shrunk-down, too-distant portrait view to a squeezed-in landscape view that’s readable but cuts off most of the page. As on the Kindle, I usually found myself manually entering in mobile URLs for sites. Once I did this, the browsing experience was excellent.
So let me say, once and for all, to e-reader manufacturers everywhere: You sell mobile devices! They need mobile web browsers! The mobile web is a rich and vibrant ecosystem, offering content specifically designed for your screens! Most of you use WebKit, even, which handles mobile websites incredibly well! Don’t fight it! Embrace it!
This is, in some ways, the core contradiction of the Nook Color. Even though it isn’t trying to be a mobile computer like the iPad or some of the other forthcoming Android tablets, the content that most clearly differentiates it from both its own E Ink past and other e-readers is still ten-inch content. There are workarounds, like zoom-ins and pop-out text on the children’s books and article mode for magazines, but they’re not as graceful as just being able to read text and images together at a normal, comfortable size.
Magazines, children’s books and the web are all more exciting and more readable at ten inches. So are textbooks, if Nook ever gets there. The iPad, Kno and Kindle DX all went big to try to make that screen content work.
Nook Color resists it, and there are good reasons for it. First, there is something ingenious about the 7″ form factor. It fits naturally in a coat pocket or purse. It’s easy to hold, as I mentioned above. And it works really, really well for most books.
Barnes & Noble’s customers don’t want to have more than one e-reader or tablet. They want access to color, the web, magazines, but don’t want to have a separate device in order to make full use of it. And while I might have fretted about the tiny text on the children’s books, my three-year-old son didn’t care. He loved it and buried his face in it closer.
Nook Color may not make anyone with skin in the mobile media reader game happy. It doesn’t have the 3G connectivity or battery life of the Kindle, which makes it harder for road warriors. Even though it’s an Android tablet, it doesn’t have full access to the Android market. It doesn’t have the giant screen and computing power of an iPad.
Do you know who that leaves? Everyone else. Millions and millions of people — who have a phone and a PC, who don’t scour the web for tech news, and for whom a device that costs $250 that does a little bit of everything pretty well and a subset of things extremely well is extremely compelling proposition.
I have two hopes for it, and two suggestions for Barnes & Noble. First, embrace the mobile web. Second, if Nook Color does extremely well, think about making an XL version. If you can come in below $400, I’ll buy it. I think a lot of people would.
Original Post by Tim Carmody of Wired and can be found here: http://bit.ly/i184jD
Chinese company Hanvon Technology is set to unveil the first full-color tablet using e-ink technology, at the FPD International 2010 trade show in Tokyo Tuesday.The e-ink tablet has a 9.68-inch color touchscreen with built-in Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity. It will be available for $440 in China this March — about $150 less than the cost of a 16GB, Wi-Fi-only iPad in China.
With a 78% share of the market, Hanvon is the most popular maker of e-readers in China.
Black-and-white e-ink is currently used in the displays of 90% of e-readers, such as Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Nobles’s Nook, according to The New York Times.
After the success of Apple’s iPad as an e-reading device and Barnes & Nobles’s recent announcement that the second-generation Nook would use a color LCD screen (rather than black-and-white e-ink), it seemed the days of colorless e-ink devices might be numbered. The addition of color could make e-readers more exciting for consumers who dislike the relatively short battery lives and glare of tablets with LCD displays.
Still, the new e-ink displays, which are produced by laying a color filter over standard black-and-white e-ink screens, are neither as vivid nor sharp as their LCD counterparts — The New York Times likened them to “faded color photograph[s]” — nor can they handle full-motion video.
Neither Amazon nor Sony have confirmed that e-readers with color e-ink are in the works.
“On a list of things that people want in e-readers, color always comes up,” Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading business division, told The New York Times. “There’s no question that color is extremely logical. But it has to be vibrant color. We’re not willing to give up the true black-and-white reading experience,” he said.
Story by Lauren Indvik of Mashable
Image courtesy: New York Times
Not content to let the Kindle or iPad own the e-book space, Barnes & Noble has just announced its successor to the Nook, the NOOKcolor. The NOOKcolor is, as the name indicates, a color e-book reader and touchscreen tablet. It’s going to retail for $249 and is expected to start shipping on November 19.
The NOOKcolor features a 7-inch backlit IPS display and capacitive touchscreen. It weighs in at just under a pound and comes with 8GB of built-in memory, which can be expanded up to 32GB with a microSD card. It also features a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack and a micro-USB port. It also has built-in 802.11n Wi-Fi.
Barnes & Noble rates battery life of up to eight hours with Wi-Fi turned off. While primarily an e-reader and web browser, the NOOKcolor can also playback audio files and *.MP4 video. It supports EPUB, PDF and TXT files, as well as Microsoft Office file formats.
Like the original Nook, NOOKcolor is built off of Google’s Android OS. It doesn’t look like the device will be able to access the Android Market directly, but Barnes & Noble has announced a NOOKdeveloper program. The NOOKcolor SDK is based on Android 2.1, so if you have an Android app already, porting it to the NOOKcolor shouldn’t be too difficult.
Already Barnes & Noble is touting the inclusion of apps like Pandora and built-in games like chess, Sudoku and crossword puzzles. Undoubtedly seeing the success that children’s books have found on the iPad, the NOOKcolor will also support the new Nook Kids platform.
While the original Nook was mostly a response — albeit with a few extra perks, like 14-day lending — to the original Amazon Kindle, we think it’s safe to say that with the NOOKcolor, Barnes & Noble has really upped the game. It is clear from the featureset that the true target of this device isn’t the new Kindle, but instead the iPad and other tablets.
Ultimately performance will dictate how well the NOOKcolor will stand up to devices like the iPad or Samsung Galaxy Tab, but as it stands right now, the NOOKcolor looks like one of the most impressive e-readers to hit the market this year.
Original post by Christina Warren of Mashable and can be found here: http://on.mash.to/chCv96
Yesterday we brought you an old blog post about what plans the publishers might have considering all the changes taking place. We all know that the battle for eReader dominance is only just beginning. We also know that at any time a new battle for eBook standards might break out. One might say that we all agree that there are interesting times ahead. Today we bring another old piece we published in June of this year. With developments like Vook (vook.com), the future of the book will be far more interesting. Enjoy
Take a long hard look at a book, any book. Pull a favorite off a shelf, dust off the top--maybe it's the Bible, the Koran, a novel by Jane Austen or Leo Tolstoy. Perhaps you're more into Dan Brown or Jacqueline Winspear mysteries, Doris Kearns Goodwin biographies, or you've dog-eared page after page in Skinny Bitch. You may even gravitate toward business books like Viral Loop, my latest. Now say your goodbyes, because there will soon be a day that you may view such analog contrivances as museum pieces, bought and sold on eBay as collectibles, or tossed into landfills.
Coming soon ... It's the end of the book as we know it, and you'll be just fine. But it won't be replaced by the e-book, which is, at best, a stopgap measure. Sure, a bevy of companies are releasing e-book readers-there's Amazon's Kindle, Barnes & Noble's Nook, and a half dozen other chunks of not-ready-for-primetime hardware. But technology marches on through predictable patterns of development, with the initial form of a new technology mirroring what came before, until innovation and consumer demand drive it far beyond initial incremental improvements. We are on the verge of re-imagining the book and transforming it something far beyond mere words.
Take note: The first battlefield tanks looked like heavily armored tractors equipped with cannons; early automobiles were called "horseless carriages" for a reason; the first motorcycles were based on bicycles; the first satellite phones were as clunky as your household telephone. A decade ago, when newspapers began serving up stories over the Web, the content mirrored what was offered in the print edition. What the tank, car and newspaper have in common is they blossomed into something far beyond their initial prototypes. In the same way that an engineer wouldn't dream of starting with the raw materials for a carriage to design a rad new sports car today, newspapers won't use paper or ink anymore. Neither will books. But mere text on a screen, the stuff that e-books are made of, won't be enough.
The first movie cameras were used to film theater productions. It took early cinematic geniuses like Sergei Eisenstein, Fritz Lang, Charlie Chaplin and Abel Gance to untether the camera from what was and transform it into what it would become: a new art form. I believe that this dynamic will soon be replayed, except it will star the book in the role of the theater production, with authors acting more like directors and production companies than straight wordsmiths.
Like early filmmakers, some of us will seek new ways to express ourselves through multimedia. Instead of stagnant words on a page we will layer video throughout the text, add photos, hyperlink material, engage social networks of readers who will add their own videos, photos, and wikified information so that these multimedia books become living, breathing, works of art. They will exist on the Web and be ported over to any and all mobil devices that can handle multimedia, laptops, netbooks, and beyond. (Hey, Apple, are you listening?)
For the non-fiction author therein lie possibilities to create the proverbial last word on a subject, a one-stop shop for all the information surrounding a particular subject matter. Imagine a biography of Wiley Post, the one-eyed pilot from the 1930s who was the first to fly around the world. It would not only offer the entire text of a book but newsreel footage from his era, coverage of his most famous flights, radio interviews, schematics of his plane, interactive maps of his journeys, interviews with aviation historians and pilots of today, a virtual tour of his cockpit and description of every gauge and dial, short profiles of other flyers of his time, photos, hyperlinked endnotes and index, links to other resources on the subject.
Social media could be woven into the fabric of the experience--discussion threads and wikis where readers share information, photos, video, and add their own content to Post's story, which would tie them more closely to the book. There's also the potential for additional revenue streams: You could buy MP3s of popular songs from the 1930s, clothes that were the hot thing back then, model airplanes, other printed books, DVDs, journals, and memorabilia.
A visionary author could push the boundaries and re-imagine these books in wholly new ways. A novelist could create whole new realities, a pastiche of video and audio and words and images that could rain down on the user, offering metaphors for artistic expressions. Or they could warp into videogame-like worlds where readers become characters and through the expression of their own free will alter the story to fit. They could come with music soundtracks or be directed or produced by renowned documentarians. They could be collaborations or one-woman projects.
Before you add your comment to the comment thread at the end of this column, or hustle off an email to me to vehemently disagree with my vision, I want to emphasize I'm not predicting the end of immersive reading. I see a future in which immersive reading coexists with other literary, visual and auditory modes of expression. You get the full book--all the words on the page or screen--but you also get so much more. And ask yourself: Which would you rather have, the hardcover book of today or this rich, multimedia treatment of the same title? Suddenly mere words on a page may feel a bit lifeless. And remember that today's youth are tomorrow's book buyers, and they have been brought up on a steady diet of entertainment on demand, with text, photos, and video all available at the click of a mouse. I'm skeptical that simple text will cut it for them.
Now, I realize that many can't imagine life without a good book to curl up with, but these may be the same people who might have thought they'd never forgo the pop and hiss of vinyl records, jettison the typewriter for a laptop, spring for high speed Internet access, or buy a BlackBerry or iPhone. In an earlier age they might have even resisted adopting the Qwerty keyboard (what's wrong with ink and feathered quill anyway?) And sure, there will be some books around. After all, even today there exist vinyl records--just not a lot of them.
As the author of three books, I'm excited by the possibilities. Despite all the doom and gloom surrounding newspapers, magazines, and books, I think all writers should be optimistic. Because where there's chaos, there's opportunity.
Adam L. Penenberg is author of Viral Loop: From Facebook to Twitter, How Today's Smartest Businesses Grow Themselves. A journalism professor at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, Penenberg is a contributing writer to Fast Company
And besides, it's inevitable.
The recent increase in sales of eBooks might now signal the true arrival of the eBook into our lives. The eBook has been around for some time now but it has had its problems. For one there was not a format the eBook could call its own. Furthermore, there wasn’t the emergence of eBook readers, as we know them to day. Things have changed though in recent years. There still isn’t one standard for the eBook – though some would argue electronic publication (ePUB) is the standard for electronic publications – however, there are several standards still out there competing for your attention.
Perhaps the most significant progress made on behalf of the eBook is the eReader. Amazon Kindle, Barnes & Noble Nook come to mind as well as a host of others. In addition, the emergence of Apple’s iPad, shows the tablet PC is bound to make an impact on furthering sales of eBooks. All these factors have conspired in the sales of the eBook. I am sure you can think several factors I failed to mention. I remind you though that that is not what we want to talk about.
According to the Association of American Publishers (AAP), there has been a huge migration from print to digital books. Some of the figures they have put out show that non-academic eBooks sold some $263 million worth of eBooks compared with $90 million last year. However, hardback books fell some 25% year on year.
To read more see the embedded report (AAP Reports Publisher Book Sales) below:
Since there is so much talk about eBooks and eReaders, it is only fitting to remind you of an earlier blog post published on the old blog.nosadigital.com blog site. This piece was published on July 16 and is part of the re-publishing program as mentioned. Please enjoy.
Although it seems that all we ever talk about these days is the tablet--how gorgeous the iPad is, how the tablet will kill off the netbook, a little bit more about the iPad--the more dynamic market of the moment is e-readers. Not a day goes by without the launch of a new model--latest being Asus's Lumibook, and with Marvell muscling in on the Chinese market--and, to be honest, it's all a bit confusing.
Apple has so blurred the boundaries between e-reader and tablet because of its iBook Store, that one could almost argue that the traditional, monochrome version (think Kindle) is almost obsolete. Almost--but that's down to the wondrousness of electrophorectic technology, the fancy (and un-trademarked) name for e-ink, that uses minimal power and is ace for reading in natural daylight. You can see the effects that the iPad has had on the market, however: Engadget uncovered a half-sized iPad simulacrum from Asus (it runs Android, so hints of the B&N Nook there) and, although Jeff Bezos recently claimed there's a color version of the Kindle lurking somewhere in Amazon's labs, it's E.T.A. is "some ways out."
So, when it comes to choosing the right e-reader for you, whatchoo gonna do, Willis? FastCompany.com has separated the wheat from the chaff, and please find, for your delectation, a selection of what we consider to be the most interesting upcoming (and already available) e-readers around. And not an iPad in sight. Well, almost.
Best browser: Bookworms among you may not even be aware that some of the models have Web-browsing capabilities, including the Kindle and the Nook. However, I'm going to blow the black-and-white thang out of the water and say, how about the Pandigital Novel? It's color, it's got Barnes & Noble's half-a-million-volume library, it browses, it's not out yet, but oh ho ho, expect this one to do well. At $200, it's less than the price of a--no, my lips are sealed.
Best book store: They're all pretty damn good, really--although you've got to wonder just how Google will sew up the market if they ever dare to dip their toes back into the hardware market, following their contretemps with the Nexus One. Sony has just announced it is to launch a content-distribution service in Japan, China, Australia, Spain, and Italy. I'll let both Nook and Kindle carry this one off jointly, as they've both got Gut--that's Gutenberg's 1.8 million free books on top of their 500,000 titles--and as I'm a nice girl.
Best for light travelers: As recommended by fellow FC-er, Dan Nosowitz (a more seasoned voyageur you will not meet) the $155 Sony Pocket Reader is, with a mere 5-inch screen and no bulky keyboard, significantly smaller than the competition (even pocket-sized, if you're not wearing skinny jeans). Its memory is beefy enough to allow you around 350 books on it, and it supports books lent from public libraries (any major city library should have an ebook lending system). It's a bit barebones--no search, no annotations, no wireless connection--but it's beautifully designed, absolutely teeny, and it can sometimes be found for $110, nearly impulse-buy territory. If you're not already in hock to the Kindle or Barnes & Noble stores, it's a great option.
Best for someone with a bag-carrier: Oh, without a doubt Plastic Logic's Que. They call it a ProReader, it looks just dreamy, and if ever you want to best someone with an iPad, then this is the e-reader to do it with. It's the business--I'm in no doubt that this is the kind of thing that Tom Ford's minions would be carrying for the great man himself. Price is a little sticky, however--$649 for the 4GB Wi-Fi version, rising to $799 for 8GB Wi-Fi and 3G. I asked, but it doesn't come in a cut-price 1GB version that you pedal yourself. Sigh.
Best apps: If apps is really the only reason you want to buy an e-reader, then why don't you just go to the Apple store and buy the--no, no, I won't say it. If, however, $500 is not the kind of wonga you're planning on shelling out, might I suggest the Nook? Although Android is not quite as hot on the app front as Apple, Barnes & Noble recently churned out a firmware update that lets you upload all kinds of fun and games on its second, color screen. Cost is, like the Kindle, $259.
Best value: If it's all about the money, then plump for the Libre Pro, Borders' riposte to Barnes & Noble's Nook. Costing $120, it comes with 100 free books and a Borders' desktop app. It reads the pretty universal e-book standard file, ePub, as well as .pdf files, has room (via an SD card slot) for 40,000 titles, syncs to your computer, and you can listen to pre-downloaded MP3s on it.
Best for bookworms: It's got to be the Lumiread, Acer's Kindle-esque e-reader, which should be out next month. Acer is staying schtumm about the price so far, but they're known for not beating too much money out of the consumer. Plus, it's got a dinky little scanner that you can use when you're in your local bookstore on a book's ISBN number and which links you to online sites where you can download the e-version of whatever tome it is caught your eye in the Macabre Horror section.
Best if you're not that into books: All right, I'm going to say it--the iPad.
Original piece by Addy Dugdale and can be read here: http://tinyurl.com/32av5rk
This blog post was published on the 30th of August this year. It is also part of our republishing program. Our initial posting caught people's attention; we hope it does the same again. Let us know what you think with your comments.
E-ink is one of the more unusual technologies to spring up in recent years. It's both more expensive and less versatile than LCD, a long-established product seen in everything from iPods to TVs. It's incredibly specific, but also incredibly good at its one job: reading text.
E-ink e-book readers like the Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble Nook offer, in the opinion of myself and many others, the best digital book-reading experience available. The battery life is astounding (the new Kindle gets up to a month of battery life. An entire month!), they can be used outside without glare, and they quite simply look more like printed, physical ink and paper than any other display ever created. You can lose yourself in e-ink, which is about the best compliment I can give to a digital reader.
On the other hand, LCD devices in a similar package, including tablets like Apple's iPad, offer a passable reading experience on top of a whole host of features e-ink will never, ever be able to handle. E-book readers are better for books; tablets are better for everything else. So tablets and e-book readers exist in an odd sort of stalemate right now: neither can quite replace the other.
But I do believe that LCD and other, more modern displays (including Pixel Qi, LED, AMOLED, and countless other acronymic display types) will advance to the point where they offer a reading experience at least comparable to e-ink. Some have already been made--the iPad's IPS LCD display is better than expected in outdoor use, for example--and that's the wave of the future. And at that point, e-ink will die.
E-ink will die mostly because it fundamentally can't compete with tablets. That's why announcements like today's, in which E-Ink (it's a company as well as that company's main--or only?--product) claimed it will release both a color and a touchscreen version by early 2011, is so confusing. But color and interface are hardly the only obstacles e-ink has to overcome to compete with tablets: Its refresh rates make video largely impossible, it can't cram in enough pixels to make still photos look any more crisp than a day-old McDonald's french fry, and, most damnably, it's still extremely expensive.
I've used both color and touchscreen e-ink displays before. Before its untimely demise, I saw a prototype version of the Skiff newspaper reader with color, and I've used Sony's Reader Touch Edition as well. The Skiff's color was faded, like a photocopy of a photocopy, an extremely unimpressive display closer to old four-color comics than crisp digital imagery. Sony's Touch Edition suffers from enjoyment-killing glare and a slow response rate. While I'm sure the technology for both color and touch can be advanced, I'm not the least bit convinced that it'll ever get to the point where those features are competitive. By the time e-ink catches up to modern-day LCD (and that's assuming it ever does, which is a hefty assumption), LCD will have advanced as well.
Amazon showed that the way to make e-book readers sell like blazes is to lower the price to near-impulse-item territory. Its new $140 Kindle sold out of pre-orders almost immediately, and there's been more buzz around the next version than can be explained through hardware upgrades alone. It's a great reader, don't get me wrong, but its incredible sales numbers are due in large part to the price cut.
Color and touchscreen e-book readers would require a substantial increase in price, to accommodate the new technology. But that's exactly the wrong way to advance e-ink--the price needs to remain as low as possible.
Why is E-Ink pretending that features like color and touch interfaces are important, necessary, or even desirable for its product? E-ink readers like the Kindle offer the best digital reading experience on the market--why muck it up with expensive and useless features?E-ink may not have a long future, but until LCD can learn some very difficult new tricks, it'll survive. Diluting that purpose for half-baked progress to compete with tablets is the wrong direction for e-ink.
Original post by Dan Nosowitz and can be found here: http://bit.ly/cs8u3v
Here is a piece that was published last month and part of our re-publishing program. The iPad is a force to be reckoned regardless of what any other firm is doing. For those who have read it, our apologies but we remind you that we did say we were going to republish some work. Please enjoy.
The world of eBooks has taken a different turn not just in terms of book publishing but also in the eBook readers coming to market. One such piece of hardware is Apple’s iPad. The iPad is not an eBook reader but a tablet. However, the iPad has taken a position within the eBook space as it is. This has caused a stir in the industry and in the imagination of the public.
Regardless of how we all might look at it, the iPad has set new standards in what the tablets do from now on. In addition to this, the iPad has changed things forever. The changes made that are what make it the kick-ass piece of hardware that it is. Here are just very few characteristics that make my claim so:
Ease of Use
I knew that the iPad was a hit the moment I saw my older brother get excited while using it. He (big brother) is a complete technophobe and hates using anything that will make him think too much. He just does not have the patience. The iPad came natural to him. The use of the fingers to carry out operations is simply a masterstroke. Using the fingers is not new, but the way Apple put it together is something else.
Many – I was one of them – have complained at how much it cost to buy any piece of hardware from Apple. What I did not get at the time was that people did not care about the price they wanted the user experience. For those who might sneer at my statement, you should have seen the queue for those waiting to buy the iPad at Apple’s twenty-four hour store on Fifth Avenue in New York. Enough said!
Now some of you might wonder about this statement but I tell you I have. I receive PDF documents on a regular basis. My biggest problem has been reading the documents. This is something I am sure you have experienced at one time or the other. I wrote a short piece a while ago titled “One reason why the iPad could be the eBook Reader Killer. (http://bit.ly/dl0wgq).” I really did mean what I wrote as my MacBook Pro screen was easier on the eyes. The iPad has made things simpler especially when I decide to read in bed. I know read my documents within hours instead of days, and the MacBook gets to rest.
The Reading Myths
The first of these myths I believe I have answered – reading PDFs. One the first things you hear is that you cannot read PDFs on the iPad. I assure you that the iBooks software is more than capable of handling PDFs. Secondly; you cannot read in the sun using an iPad. Let me assure you that that is nonsense. I now live in Pretoria in sunny South Africa. I took the iPad out into the sun on 28C hot and humid day. The auto-brightness feature kicked in and made reading delightful.
Now I have not read using either the Kindle or Nook so I am in no position make a comparison. However, there is nothing wrong with the iPad.
Satisfactory Battery Life
eBook reader purists will always point to the fact the Kindle or Nook have battery lives in the weeks. I must remind people that the iPad is a tablet not an eBook reader, and has a satisfactory battery life
eBook Market Space
I realise that this part of the discussion is two-fold. First, Amazon has access to 450,000 books, Barnes & Noble 700,000 books, while Apple just over 60,000 books. By the sheer size of books, this is a no contest. However, what the non-iPad users do not realise is that both Amazon and Barnes & Noble have both released eBook reader applications for iPad. We must not forget other reader apps from Wattpad, Kobo, and Free Books to mention just a few.
This can only mean that they (Amazon & Co) realise the importance of the iPad in the scheme of things. Moreover, despite the fact that the iPad is a tablet in a different market, it cannot and must not be ignored. Again, I go back to user experience. They (Amazon and others) realise that people might just not be interested in buying a Nook or Kindle if they are happy with an iPad. Because of this, Amazon and others realise that it would stupid not to take the initiative in the iPad market.
Secondly, although some companies have seen their fortunes turn for the worse in the eBook reader market, this does not mean that the shakeout has ended. In addition, there is already a price war brewing between Amazon, Barnes & Noble and of course Sony. Amazon has already fired the first shot with a $139 Kindle. It will be interesting to see what the others do. We can only speculate where all this will lead to as time goes on.
The Chrome Factor
This I must admit also has commercial considerations but with a difference. Google has now decided to enter the tablet space with the Chrome OS Tablet. Many others have announced and entered the market without much as a care from the consumers. It (Google) has announced that it will be releasing the table on November 26 (Black Friday to those in the US). Google might take comfort in the fact that its Android phone recently surpassed the iPhone in overall sales. This does not mean the same will happen in the tablet space. We must not forget that Google has made several concerted efforts in the social media space and lost to Facebook. Only time will tell how things work out.
Developers have taken a leaf out of the iPhone book with a plethora of new applications. Many of the apps are free while some you will have to buy. One of the most interesting apps I bought was the Vook (http://vook.com/). Some of you might remember a blog piece I put out on June 22 titled “Forget eBooks: The Future of the Book is far more interesting”. Adam Penenberg, a journalism professor and contributing writer to FastCompany, wrote this piece.
In the piece, he talked about how the eBook would evolve from just stagnant word on the page to the addition of video throughout the text, photos, hyperlinks, and the engagement of social networks. The same would be true of works of non-fiction. Imagine for a moment you were reading about the Second World War. While reading, you get to hear an mp3 track from that era which you end up liking; why not buy that song there and then within your book. Just imagine the commercial opportunities.
The Vook app is just the beginning of this era as it combines photos, video, hyperlinks and social media connections to its books. I am currently reading, “Unleashing the Superideavirus” by Seth Godin. The book allows you to tweet sections of the book, email your friends or share on Facebook, not to mention the interesting videos at the beginning of each chapter. There are also hyperlinks to the web strewn all through the book. Once again, it will be interesting to see where all this leads us.
Many already have the misconception that the iPad is an eBook reader. People it is not! The iPad is a tablet while the Kindle and Nook are eBook readers. There is a difference between the two. I do not think that the iPad is a direct threat to the eBook readers; however, it is a threat by the fact that consumers want it and it is quite a good piece of hardware.
There is absolutely no question that Amazon and Nook will battle it out with a few other smaller players for the soul of the eBook market. We will all have to wait and see what happens. As Google comes to the party later this year, it remains to be seen what their tablet will do in the market place. At this time, I cannot call it in favour of Google for one simple reason, customer desire. Despite the fact that Apple has always charged a bit more than most, customers have still flocked to the brand. It is obvious to most that the brand has brought something extra to the table, user experience.
Although Google is known for its innovation and its recent triumph over the iPhone with Android, there are no guarantees of the Chrome OS Tablet’s success. As a friend of mine put it recently, except the Chrome OS Tablet is sh$#ting gold nuggets, it can forget about beating the iPad. As a recent convert to the Apple brand, I say long live the iPad and long live interesting times ahead. And regardless of what anyone might say, the iPad is kicking ass.
Original contribution by Olu Oyekanmi. You can follow him on Twitter here: twitter.com/oluoyekanmi
We continue with another old blog post. We apologise if you have read some of these posts in the past but as we mentioned we are republishing for the new platform. Unfortunately, we cannot do a direct transfer so as to keep past dates. We apologise for any inconvenience. You can read our old blog posts here: http://nosadigital.blogspot.com or see our archives page.
I am one of those men who read the Marvel Comics as a kid and had secretly fantasised that the super heroes would make it to the big screen. Thank God they did, and in spectacular style. The massive improvements in computer technology and special effects have ensured that any super hero can be brought to life. However, does this mean that the comic book is dead?
Many of the comic book establishments like Marvel found their sales fall with unimpressive figures over a few years. Hollywood might have contributed to this but this is debatable. I am sure that computer games did contribute to an extent in this decline. Suddenly kids were able to interact with their favourite characters. Although I am no fan of computer games (I just could not get into it), I am not against them either. I am fascinated though when I watch my nephews play games on their PlayStation. They seem to be in a world of their own, making the characters do all sorts of manoeuvres.
The last time I read a comic book I was fifteen years old. Some thirty or so years later, I find myself reading them on an iPad. There are still outlets that sell comics but I would not be caught dead going into one. Why you may ask? I felt it was childish. Is it so wrong for a man of almost fifty to go into a comic shop? In some cultures (like mine), it is considered childish, while in others it is not. In mine, however, a man my age could come up with the excuse that he is buying them for his kids. While plausible, it is still unacceptable especially if your children are old enough to do that for themselves.
You might ask – and quite rightly, so – what it is the shame in buying comics for your kids. Absolutely nothing is the answer to that. I just found myself conforming to the norm (shame on me!).
As time went by, I forgot completely about comics until a piece of hardware showed up. That hardware known as the iPad changed everything. I got one about two weeks ago from the UK and I unashamedly say it has not left my side since then except when having a shower.
I am not going to go into any details; most of you already know how this delightful tablet works. As I studied the use of my iPad, I read an article on the Internet about the ten best iPad apps to have. One of the top ten apps mentioned was the Marvel Comics app. I immediately proceeded to the iTunes Store to download the app more out of curiosity. On installing, I downloaded a few of the free comics. I cannot tell you what a delight it was to read about the super heroes again.
One such download was Civil War (2006) #1. I enjoyed it so much that I went on to download all six other episodes. The six episodes cost $1.99 each but I did not care. I wanted more; I began to think of what else I could read. I recalled battles of the past such as The Defenders versus The Avengers. I remembered characters like the Lizard and the Green Goblin. I remembered how we waited with baited breath on what the new episodes would hold. I found myself feeling the same way. I began to wonder whether men my age across the World felt the same way. I did not have long to wait. My older brother called me to say he had read a few of the comics and wanted more.
I have a new yearning in my soul; I want Marvel Comics to make holiday specials of three or even four hundred page long episodes. I know; Marvel could republish Spider Man versus the Lizard epic battles. Why not create a rift between the Fantastic Four and the Defenders? I am sure Marvel has all sorts of weird and wonderful characters we can enjoy. Eh, maybe I have gone too far in this request. Please tell me.
So what are your conclusions I hear you ask. For one, the iPad has given me a gift I would not have had – reasons for an adult to read a comic again. The iPad has also put paid to the shame of going to a comic store – Marvel App Store. I also realise that I need to read works of fiction once again. I have not read fiction since I was eighteen. I can do nothing but thank the iPad for that. I also found that I have taken life a little too seriously. It is time to loosen up.
As I mentioned earlier, I wonder how many more people feel the way I feel. I am convinced that the iPad could revive comic book reading even to those who never really did so as children. I hope someone from Marvel Comics might read this blog and consider what I have written. I am sure there are more people who would gladly pay for some good old-fashioned super hero entertainment. By the way, the same goes for DC Comics; I downloaded the app and have read a few stories, my experience, one word, awesome.
Comments from all the old men out there who are still in the comic book closet would be most appreciated.
Contributed by Olu Oyekanmi and he can be followed on Twitter here: twitter.com/oluoyekanmi
NosaDigital is an online store that provides electronic and audio books. NosaDigital sells fiction and non-fiction for both book formats. NosaDigital also deals in eBook readers as well as MP3 players, and iPods.
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