Brief Notes On Four eInk Devices

I’ve ordered this list by strength of the companies:

Kindle:
– International and is very aggressive
– hardware has WiFi and 3G
– has the most eBooks
– has exclusive eBooks
– offers lots of free eBooks
– uses proprietary eBook format
– uses proprietary DRM
– designed to lock-in Amazon customers
– setting up an account is easy without a credit card

Sony Reader:
– International but moves slowly
– Killer new hardware in the 350 and 650
– lacks wireless in 350 and 650
– uses ePub eBook format
– uses “classic” Adobe DRM
– can borrow books from public libraries
– designed to be as open as possible
– setting up an account requires credit card
– setting up an account is easy without a credit card**

Kobo Reader:
– International and aggressive
– hardware is cute and now has WiFi
– proprietary eBook format
– proprietary DRM
– can use ePub eBooks
– can use “classic” Adobe DRM
– can borrow books from public libraries
– designed to quickly gain Kobo customers
– setting up an account is easy without a credit card

Barnes & Noble Nook:
– US-only and Chairman doesn’t use his own product
– hardware has WiFi and 3G
– uses ePub eBook format
– has proprietary variant of Adobe DRM
– Nook ePubs can only be used on Nook hardware
– free eBooks are for Nook customers only
– can use ePub eBooks
– can use “classic” Adobe DRM
– can borrow books from public libraries
– designed to lock-in Barnes & Noble customers
– setting up an account requires credit card

Of these four, I think the Barnes & Noble Nook will be in trouble. Both Sony and Kobo understand that being widely available internationally and cooperating on DRM is in the best interests of their customers.

**Apparently Sony made a change since I tried years ago. Today I was able to set up an account without being asked for any credit card information. Not only that, I could download a free eBook too!

2 Comments

Filed under eInk Devices

2 responses to “Brief Notes On Four eInk Devices

  1. Dee

    you don’t mention programs like calibre which will let you convert files for many formats making most of these more versatile. PDF files for instance can be converted to read on kindle, sony and I think on nook. (the format is listed but I haven’t had personal experience so I don’t know it it actually works. I have however, converted pdfs and epub to read on my kindle with no problem.

    • mikecane

      No, I didn’t mention Calibre, because the focus of the post was the devices and companies. Also, format conversion requires DRM stripping, which is not something I will post a How To of or pointers to because some people out there might have a tendency towards larceny instead of investment preservation.

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