Barnes & Noble Says Yes, Microsoft Says No to New e-Readers


Photo via CarbonNYC via Flickr CC

e-Readers have been the buzz word lately, and a slew of announcements has come out this week covering everything from Barnes & Noble launching their own Kindle competitor, to Microsoft saying they want nothing to do with e-readers, to Kindle going international. Check out the latest happenings in the next generation of books. First off, territory for the Kindle is expanding. Amazon announced earlier in the week that they're not only cutting the price of the Kindle 2 down to $259 (which is still a pricey device...) but that it is also launching an international version with a built-in AT&T; SIM card. It will be priced a little higher at $279, and will be available on October 19. The Kindle DX will also have an international version, allowing readers in over 100 countries to access e-books.

So far, only the Sony Reader is a serious Kindle competitor, though more e-readers keep pouring onto the market. However, that could change now that Barnes & Noble has announced its own e-reader to ship next month. It is rumored to run on the Andorid OS, though that is definitely still a rumor so far. We know that it'll have a 6" screen from digital-paper maker E-Ink - which is a touch on the small side for easy reading - and will have touch input with a virtual keyboard. We don't know yet about pricing, but along with all these other rumors comes one that it'll be less expensive than the Kindle (perhaps that's why the price drop on the Kindle 2 from Amazon?). Books would be available from Barnes & Noble in their e-book store.

And don't forget, Barnes & Noble has partnered with Plastic Logic, who will put out a color e-book reader next spring, with books accessible through Barnes & Noble.

It seems there is quite a rush to get e-readers out to market in a competitive way, especially before this holiday season where it is expected that smaller, cheaper gadgets like netbooks and e-readers will be the primary gadget gifts in our cash-strapped economy.

However, Microsoft says they'll pass on putting out a e-reader device. This from Steve Ballmer: "We have a device for reading. It's the most popular device in the world -- it's the PC."

Frankly, that's a little ridiculous as a reason for not making an e-reader. It's comparing apples to oranges. PCs take up far more energy than an e-reader when it comes to reading newspapers, magazines and books, plus even netbooks are bigger, heavier, and less convenient to pull out on the bus or at the airport than a thin, slick e-reader. If the company doesn't want to enter the fray, then that's just fine - there are plenty of devices already available and we don't want to encourage too much of a mad rush towards electronics as primary reading devices - but it's not smart to say a PC cuts it as an e-reader equivalent.

More on e-Readers
Hearst Corp Coming Out with Magazine eReader
World's First Color e-Reader Launched By Fujitsu
Kindle e-Reader Hits Schools, Students Say "Meh.."
Cool-er e-Reader Is Cheaper, Has More Titles than Kindle

Tags: Books | Electronics | Gadgets