Thursday, December 09, 2010

At last - a reason...

OK, a flimsy excuse to get an iPad.  While I love my Kindle, I can see adding an iPad would be serious overlap - especially for book reading.  But with Google getting into the e-book biz, the assumptions are being realigned.

Google eBookstore addresses a complaint many have lodged against Amazon's Kindle: The books bought for it can only be read using Kindle software. This would be a major problem if there weren't Kindle apps for iOS and Droid devices, as well as for Windows and Mac computers; I don't own a Kindle, but I own several Kindle e-books and read them on my iPhone and iPad. What I can't do with my Kindle books is read them on a friend's iPad during a visit, or on a shared work computer if I want, say, to point out an interesting passage to a colleague. Google's e-books will be accessible via a user's Google account from any device that runs a Web browser (that includes tablet computers and smart phones), as well as via apps designed to run on various mobile platforms. I can also read my Google e-books on a Nook or Sony Reader, should I ever decide to buy one, something I can't do with Kindle titles. But remember: You also can't use your Kindle to read any e-books you buy from Google.
So let's review: Google eBooks is a big improvement on the Kindle (still the most popular dedicated e-reader device) if you anticipate wanting to switch from one dedicated e-reader device to another, but if you're switching to an iPad, then it's a wash. On the other hand, if you're a student at the library one afternoon without your Kindle or iPad and you want to be able to access a Kindle book you bought for a class, you're out of luck. (If that last example strikes you as an exotic scenario, bear in mind that while Kindles are the most popular dedicated e-reader devices, the majority of people who read e-books still read them on a laptop or desktop computer, and many of these readers are students.) Your Google e-books, however, can be read on the library's computer using a Web browser. But hold on a minute! -- Amazon just announced that it will be introducing its own Web-browser-based Kindle reader in a month or so.
In other words, figuring out which e-book system will best meet your needs is really, really confusing. [More]
I tell ya - for gadgeteers, life just keeps getting better.

(Even better, we told our kids not to get us Christmas presents when we couldn't come up with any suggestions for them.  So I'll just sniff sadly and say, "Since I didn't get any presents, I bought one for myself...")

Update: Or should I wait until April?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the ZippyCart link!