Amazon to Launch Library Lending for Kindle Books
Kindle Library Lending and OverDrive – What it means for libraries and schools
July 1, 2010: The Abominable Kindle Wins?
If Amazon gets public libraries on board, it would be the death of ePub.
Well, if there was any doubt Amazon has totally vanquished everyone else, there’s no doubt now.
A user will be able to browse for titles on any desktop or mobile operating system, check out a title with a library card, and then select Kindle as the delivery destination. The borrowed title will then be able to be enjoyed using any Kindle device and all of Amazon’s free Kindle Reading Apps.
Let me spell out what that means:
– NO Adobe Digital Editions
– NO Sony Library or other desktop software
– NO cable syncing
– NO wire hangers ever!
OK, so I got a bit carried away with that last bit.
And the atomic bomb from Amazon that slays everyone:
“We’re doing a little something extra here,” Marine continued. “Normally, making margin notes in library books is a big no-no. But we’re extending our Whispersync technology so that you can highlight and add margin notes to Kindle books you check out from your local library. Your notes will not show up when the next patron checks out the book. But if you check out the book again, or subsequently buy it, your notes will be there just as you left them, perfectly Whispersynced.”
Boldfaced emphasis added by me.
That just kills everybody. Period.
That’s just not possible with a Sony Reader, a Kobo Reader, a Nook — or any of their desktop or mobile programs.
Let me also tell you other implications:
1) There is absolutely no reason for anyone to now buy a Sony Reader, a Kobo Reader, or a Nook. None. The public library edge they all had has now been wiped out — and not just replaced, but replaced with note-taking extras.
2) All those reading clubs that hold meetings in public libraries are all going to buy a Kindle now. Or use something that uses that Kindle software. This is a huge stake in the heart of print. That format called print is now dead.
3) Self-published writers now have a shot at being in public libraries. Because Amazon has about 99% of those writers. That is massive advertising and whole book sampling that’s just not otherwise possible short of piracy. Word of mouth for good self-published books will soar.
4) Self-published writers in their right mind won’t give a damn about whether their book is available at the Sony Reader Store, Kobo Bookstore, or Barnes & Noble bookstore. They’re all just dead. While Kobo still has an international edge, as Amazon rolls out into other countries, they’ll just crush them.
5) No one cares what the hell the eBook format is. People just want to read. Only geeks care about whether the file format is Kindle or “universal” ePub (which isn’t universal since Barnes & Noble broke it!). ePub has now become a niche eBook format. The IDPF can take as long as they want with the ePub 3.0 spec. No one cares anymore. Except maybe Apple — who can now hijack the spec until they discard it.
6) Amazon now has more power than any other book company on earth. And yes, you damn well better be afraid of this.
Two more things Amazon should do:
1) Release a tablet.
2) Give public libraries an affiliate cut. To slay this nonsense: LibraryBIN: Buy An Overpriced eBook To Help A Public Library
And one thing public libraries must do: Stock Amazon Gift Cards!
Previously at The iPad Test:
84 responses to “Kindle Library Lending: ePub Is Dead”
Amazon can’t give Libraries an Affiliate Cut in many states because those states will be able to TAX Amazon purchases and force Amazon to collect sales taxes.
Yes, I understand that. However… there’s a case to be made that such sales cuts are *tax-deductible contributions*, especially since libraries are being defunded all across the nation. Amazon has good lobbyists. So does the ALA. They can make that case and win.
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Right. The Nook credit-card DRM killed the ‘standard’ and Apple’s DRM is also proprietary.
Absolutely right about the effect on ePub as standard now that Amazon is not the outsider with a big missing feature. They would have been working on this for awhile. Someone mentioned some ePub things incorporated into latest Mobi. I don’t know if that’s true but it would make sense.
Agree on the Cloud sync’g, annotations-keeping features too. Huge!
And with the cloud storage amd own mp3-streaming suddenly added to the video-streaming, they really must have a tablet almost ready to get the rest of the audience who doesn’t want just b&w and want the other features too — as a supplementary device. But they have the ability to make a killer tablet. I think that’s why it’s taken so long. Look at what’s happening with Xoom and Galaxy, who went for Time at the expense of quality performance.
Apple is so far behind and so irrelevant in eBooks that I don’t think about them much. It will be interesting to see if they kick out all eBook programs come June 30th. They’d only be helping Amazon to sell Kindles and any tablet they might release.
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All your conclusions are ahead of reality. It is important to point out that NOTHING has yet been implemented. A lot can happen between now and sometime “later this year”.
Amazon tends to deliver. PR-wise, I think this was a shot against the news this week that Kobo raised $50M.
An interesting development that may be related to the Amazon Kindle library announcement. I use Lendle.me to borrow and lend Kindle books. I noticed today that of the 20 or so Kindle books that I have purchased, only a couple are currently lendable. It looks like publishers are turning off the ability to lend Kindle books.
I have no idea of this will affect the Library announcement but if the majority of books can’t be lent, then this announcement will have zero impact on the market. If this trend continues, one of the major reasons that I choose to use Amazon Kindle on my iPad will be eliminated.
You’ve got more than one item there:
1) You might not able to use Kindle on iOS past June 30th. We’re still waiting to see if Apple will ban eBook programs due to the 30% vig being impossible for them.
2) Lendle and sites like it should have expected a crackdown like this.
3) Why would anyone need Lendle when they can use the public library? I ask this not to be snide. I’m just not familiar with such sites. In principle, however, more choices is better, so I wouldn’t like to see such sites go away.
People are now waiting sometimes a few months for their library ebooks to be “in” for them – in a long waiting line.
That will likely just become worse, since each copy of an e-book can be loaned to one person at a time. So booklending.com and lendle will still be needed although they won’t have the same feature-set.
Re Apple’s 30% in June, they were asked about this in a meeting reported in Business Insider. Berstein analyst Toni Sacconaghi ‘pressed’ them on how the new subscription policy would affect Amazon and Netflix. Apple’s Internet service’s boss (their word), Eddy Cue, said that the announcement applied only to subscriptions.
That’s a good sign at least.
Apple rejected Sony’s eBook app on the basis of the 30% vig, so I’m not optimistic.
Yes, I know library eBook waits can be long — been there with NYPL. Perhaps with Amazon now offering them, libraries will buy more in Kindle format than in print. Another nail in the print coffin.
It could also be that Sony handled the purchase option in a more aggressive way.
Apple’s Trudy Muller added after the rejection, “if *an app* offers customers the ability to purchase books outside of the app” then it’d be required that “the same option is also available to customers within the app with in-app purchase.”
Maybe Sony’s method wasn’t as hands-off as Amazon’s or B&N’s in just handing-off to the generic browser.
OR, it could be that no 30% stipulation was included in connection with the e-book situation — only with subscriptions.
It could be 5% or something doable for providing the space.
In the meantime, fairly large Kindle and Netflix updates have received ‘approvals’ which don’t have to be given for app updates.
I think Apple would be shooting itself in the foot to encourage ebookstore vendors to leave — their own iBooks are available ONLY on Apple devices with Apple’s own DRM (which doesn’t seem to particularly upset those worried about format standards!)– and the iPad, say, would be less of a draw without access to the other ebookstores.
Kindle and Netflix are grandfathered in. We don’t know until the June 30th deadline. Apple wouldn’t even let Sony play in its sandbox for a few months.
There are screenshots of the iOS app on Sony’s website. The last time I checked, it really looked like it is handing off to the browser, just like Amazon and everyone else.
You can see screenshots of Sony’s Reader app on their website. The screenshot of Sony’s Reader store certainly looks like Safari to me. And that says Sony isn’t doing anything different from Amazon, B&N and the other eBook vendors are already doing.
And yet they were still rejected by Apple. Go figure.
The question would then be, would it be 30% (the % not mentioned by Apple for ebooks (and 30% would be 100% of the app-booseller revenue) or would it be a more digestible ~5%, say.
That’s the key question right there!
Just adding that Apple rep Trudy Mueller’s actual “clarification” is included at http://bit.ly/kwweb for anyone wanting that.
1) I doubt that there will be a problem but since Kindle just became a lot less useful, I’m not sure if I should be worried anyway.
2) Lendle is using an advertised feature of Kindle books to lend them one time. Lendle makes this Kindle lending feature useful. I’m not sure what kind of crackdown doesn’t affect the feature as a whole. The books that were lendable are no longer available presumably because the publishers removed the option of lending for everyone not just Lendle.me.
3) My point was that no one knows if the Library lending uses the same lendable attribute that Lendle.me is using. If it is, then having only books from mostly small unknown publishers makes the Library feature a lot less likely to change the industry.
You’re right about one thing, “more choices is better” (though the English is debateable). So to everyone out there, for the future of readers everywhere. STOP USING AMAZION NOW!!!
It’s too bad Amazon is a Johnny-come-lately. It’s hard to say epub is dead (remember “print is dead” umpty-nine years ago?) when so many people have nooks etc. They aren’t going away any more than Kindle readers are. I hope libraries (like mine) who jumped on the epub bandwagon can add the Kindle format without spending too much money. Notes and stuff is obviously cool, but this could be an issue with a library “book” saving potentially private info even if it’s not visible to other users…
I think how this is going to work is this way:
1) OverDrive provides the catalog listing only
2) The Kindle books still reside on Amazon’s servers (that’s how Notes is possible)
3) When a book is chosen via OverDrive at a public library, the request is sent to Amazon to fulfill
So it’s highly unlikely you will see other’s notes in a library book. Amazon will certainly turn off any Public Notes feature for book requests coming in via OverDrive.
People once had Apple II computers. Those were very expensive. They still switched to IBM PCs or Macs.
Remember the other trick up Amazon’s sleeve – any Nook *can* read Kindle books (either by being rooted today or by waiting until Barnes and Noble feels compelled to open that door).
I think rooting accounted for many NookColor sales.
What if you just don’t like the Kindle, at all? A blow, sure, but there are just too many people who like books other ways for this to “kill” anything.
I don’t like the Kindle hardware at all:
And I’m not fond of the Kindle format, either. So for *me* to say Amazon has won with Kindle, it really does mean that. I was the first to champion the Sony Reader, by the way, back in 2006!
Mike, in fact Amazon already utilizes EPUB in its role as an interchange format (if not yet as a delivery format). It is my understanding that most sales on the Kindle Store are of titles that were sent to Amazon by publishers as EPUB files, and converted by Amazon into the proprietary format that they presently deliver to consumers. That is simply inference from the widespread understanding that the big publishers have been for some time submitting EPUBs to Amazon (as only the small fry are still required to submit Mobi).
This itself is evidence for EPUB’s success as a universal standard and that any idea that this announcement means that “EPUB is dead” is completely misguided. Clearly they have filled a chink in their competitive armor and the annotation features raise the bar further, but to give credit where credit is due Amazon set the bar high in November 2007 and has been progressively moving it upwards since, but a strong competitor does not necessarily a monopolist make. And this is a U.S. only roll-out for now, and Amazon is far from dominant in any other geography.
I don’t want to take lightly Amazon’s considerable market lead esp. in the U.S. . But let’s face it, it is simply unreasonable to expect that the file format for and access control over digital books and other publications will end up unilaterally controlled even in one country – much less on a global basis – by a single for-profit company. We need open standards and IDPF is working together – with over 200 member organizations from over 20 countries – to make sure that EPUB ably fills this role globally, creating a level playing field enabling competition among multiple distribution channels to ensure that consumers have the maximum choice to read where and how they want, and publishers and authors are fairly compensated.
Ironic you should mention converting ePub to Kindle format. I just mentioned that in a post that went up. Perhaps that accounts for some of the bad formatting errors in Kindle books from the Big Six? So I wouldn’t bray about that. I address additional points in that post here:
And they suck.
The problem with Amazon trying to “squash” the ePub market at this time instead of embracing it is that they are so far behind the curve on this, millions of readers have already purchased ePUB books for other devices and are not going to want to have to buy those same books all over again from Amazon to move to their Kindle. I’ve got well over $500 in DRM enabled ePUB books that I’ve purchased for the Sony Reader I’ve had for three years now. Unfortunately someone sat something on my reader and screen broke so now I need to purchase a new eReader. I refuse to by a Kindle simply because I would have to re-buy all of the existing books I’ve already paid for once because Calibre (and no other software I’ve been able to find) can convert DRM-ePubs.
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“There is absolutely no reason for anyone to now buy a Sony Reader, a Kobo Reader, or a Nook. None.”
There are hardly any ebooks in Dutch in the Kindle store. Neither French or Spanish. German books are just beginning this week. Many English Kindle books cannot be bought outside of the USA. Most ereaders in Europe are ePub readers, so plenty of reasons to have ePub and ePub-supporting ereaders.
My posts here generally apply to the American market.
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When will Kindle books be lendable in Canadian libraries?
I don’t know. Given that Canadians just recently began to have eBook lending in public libraries, at least the infrastructure now exists for Amazon to grab onto.
To piggyback on what Bill said, publishers may be submitting epubs to Kindle (or using kindlegen), but they have to do all sorts of machinations to make their epub kindle-friendly. This means dumbing down the ebook itself. It’s not merely a matter of degrading gracefully; it’s dumbing down.
Yes. I am absolutely no fan of the Kindle format. I personally would have liked to have seen Amazon use ePub, even if, like B&N, they would up breaking its universality via proprietary DRM. At least everyone would have been on the same ‘e-page.”
You’re are totally correct. Unfortunately, many of those doing the designing and exporting to EPUB, then running it through KindleGen don’t know enough (anything) about the MOBI format to get through the process with some ease.
They expect they can create a designtastic print book and that it will export export in toto to EPUB and then to MOBI. It doesn’t work that way.
B&N didn’t break anything. Anybody who licenses Adobe Reader Mobile SDK can allow their reading systems to open books purchased from B&N, by prompting for the credit card # used as the license key and giving that to the SDK. For example, Bluefire Reader on iOS has enabled this feature. If licensees don’t want to allow this, of course, that is their choice, but it is not B&N’s or Adobe’s fault.
Also it is not clear that this will have relevance to independent, self published authors. I expect Amazon will certainly push for that, but they’d have to get permission for each book and get Overdrive to add them to their catalog. A lot of legal and technical things to work out on that.
>>>If licensees don’t want to allow this, of course, that is their choice, but it is not B&N’s or Adobe’s fault.
Well, that’s like saying Microsoft isn’t responsible for carriers breaking the latest Windows Phone updates. That kind of pass-the-buck mentality is why Apple and Amazon are winning.
I wouldn’t necessarily hand the trophy to Amazon yet, and certainly not in Europe. Apple have made gains in Europe, and Kobo have huge plans for the summer (local language stores with local language content in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands – and the last two don’t even have Amazon sites). Plus, Google eBookstore is going to announce a second language soon – a toss-up between Spanish/German.
If you live outside of Germany/UK, you have to order a Kindle from the US. And even in Germany, where they launched the Kindle today, it’s almost 50% more expensive than in the U.S. Amazon have been slow in Europe (with e-books/e-readers at least) which has left gaps for the competition to exploit.
This race is far from over. It’s a global business (some say $80bn), and Kobo could be one to watch (there is talk of them partnering with a bricks and mortar chain in UK, maybe Waterstones?).
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No reason to buy anything other than a Kindle? How about: not liking the Kindle hardware. That’s why I bought a Nook Color. I like the full screen real estate and soft keyboard instead of smaller screen and hard keyboard.
Rooting is just a potential bonus. I intended to root and still haven’t gotten around to it, but I use it for many hours a day as a reader.
If you saw my other Comment or this post, you’d know I am no fan of the Kindle hardware:
And your NookColor can be a Kindle after rooting.
I’ve held off on rooting my NookColor because I like B&N’s version of the droid operating system. Part of the awesome in ebooks is the opening of the international market but Nook fails harder on that from what I know. I accept that I will have to root eventually, but I’ll buy as many books from B&N as opposed to Amazon as possible, for various reasons, and I doubt I am alone. Really don’t think the battle is over yet man, just another battle on its way to resolution.
Stripping B&N DRM is not as easy as the rest, IIRC. But at least underneath is ePub, which you could run through Calibre to turn into Kindle format, should it come to that. BTW, you could also root just by running Android off a card, without modifying the insides. Once you pop out the card and restart, the NookColor is as it was. See:
You, Amazon lacky.
Hey, a new guy! Who has never read anything else I’ve written — in which I’ve previously despised the Kindle.
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Let’s see — you’ve been predicting the imminent death of epub for a year now, and it still hasn’t happened. Hmm…
I think you’re greatly overestimating the impact of the Kindle on digital standards. First, as has already been pointed out, at most your arguments apply only to the US — there’s a big wide, Kindle-less world out there beyond your borders.
Second, I challenge you to an experiment: talk a walk through your local library. Count the Kindles you see. Now, on the way back, count the iPads. On any given day, Jobs sells more iPads before breakfast than Bezos sells Kindles in an entire quarter. By the end of 2015, when Gartner is projecting worldwide Android and iOS device sales at 1.1 billion, the entire dedicated ereader market will barely churn out a tepid 25 million devices. That’s 1.1 billion devices that don’t do Kindle format.
Yeah, I know, you’ve argued that all those iPads are really Kindles just because Amazon has a nice, cozy warm Kindle app waiting for them. But why would anyone outside the US even bother installing the Kindle app when chances are Amazon won’t even sell an AZW to them?
Kindle may be the king of dedicated ereaders in the US, but the vast majority of ereadING today is happening on non-dedicated devices. And that’s only likely to increase in the near future.
Apparently you’ve missed the iPad owner polls that show reading is near-last as a use for the device. And when eBook reading *is* done on it, I bet at least two-thirds are with Kindle books.
What I said was “most ereading is happening on non-dedicated devices”, not “iPad owners are avid ereaders”. But given that iPad outsells Kindle by at least an order of magnitude, they don’t need to be.
And do you really think the REST of the world is going to give up on ePub just because a few US libraries now also offer AZW?
Amazon is like Walmart. Unlike the others, they don’t have to rely on just eBook sales. The rest of the world is using ePub only because that’s what they can buy. And even then, those numbers are much smaller than in the U.S., so Amazon can still change the game. It’s telling that on their tablets and phones, both Chippy of Carrypad.com and JKK or jkkmobile use the Kindle software — in Germany and Finland, respectively.
Look, it’s your blog, Mike. Obviously, you can say anything you like. But at least pick one message and stick with it. Is it “Amazon has already won”, or “Amazon can still change the game”?
Amazon was (finally!) able to get its proprietary format into US libraries because it had to deal with a single, for-profit, organization (Overdrive) that could be, shall we say, economically incentivized.
They’ll have a much tougher time with that approach outside the US where, as others have already pointed out, ebook markets are already standardized on epub, and the Kindle is at best an also ran.
And here in China, if Amazon wants to try to convince the government to allow an American proprietary format into the public libraries, well — good luck with that. (That’s not to say the Chinese government can’t be incentivized. It’s just to say even Amazon’s pockets aren’t that deep.)
Listen, you brought up two issues: domestic and international. As far as domestic is concerned, Amazon has won, period. Internationally you assert that ePub is popular. I maintain that’s only because Amazon has not yet penetrated those markets. And once they do, they will win there too. The Sony Reader had a head start on the Kindle here in the U.S.. That didn’t prevent Amazon from winning over them.
This seems to be the Mike Cane argument, as far as I’ve been able to suss:
1. epub is the standard
2. Enter Amazon, stage right
4. Kindle wins!
Domestically, AFAICT (details seem to be hard to come by), the Overdrive agreement simply establishes a conduit to the Amazon servers, which serve up the Kindle book; Overdrive continues to offer only epub content. Until such time as Overdrive itself (and other domestic ebook vendors) begin swapping out epub for AZW (which would mean Overdrive closing its doors), and until such time as it becomes difficult for non-Kindlers to obtain titles in epub, epub will continue to thrive, even in the US.
Internationally, epub as the standard is a done deal. “Only because Amazon has not yet penetrated those markets” is empty speculation, not a useful discussion point. Remember that Amazon basically built the US ebook market single-handedly, and when the Kindle was introduced, epub wasn’t even a standard yet. That’s two advantages Amazon had domestically that it won’t get internationally, where it’s attempting to enter much more mature markets that have already coalesced around epub. Declaring “epub is dead” just because American Kindlers can now borrow library books sounds suspiciously like suggesting the rest of the world throw in the towel on the metric system just because Americans prefer the feet and thumbs of dead royalty. I won’t call that typical American arrogance, but if it quacks like a duck….
Oh, and BTW, the widely reported ChangeWave survey of last December said 76% of iPad owners read ebooks. Just recently, Simba Information put the figure at 60%. AdMob claims 46% of all tablet owners read ebooks. There may be more ebook reading going on on iPads than you think.
I’ll let you have the last word. We’re plainly not going to agree on this, and in any case I’m starting to feel a bit claustrophic with these narrow margins.
Really, are you this fucking dense?
1. epub is the standard
2. Enter Amazon, stage right
4. Kindle wins!
Insert this for number three: MILLIONS OF PEOPLE BUY KINDLES. And because millions have, most writers are now in Kindle format, not ePub, because *they* published with Kindle instead of ePub — because *that* is what *most readers* have bought. This pattern will be the same world over.
Wow, this is a real blast from the past.
Here we are, almost exactly ten years later, still waiting for epub to die and Kindle to take over the world.
Plus, a pandemic.
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So is Amazon going to release their format to everyone including companies so their employees can use a Kindle? Do you really believe each company will choose to go through Amazon for their technical books, manuals, etc? I have many books in Epub and would prefer they stay that way. I will never buy a Kindle without it supporting Epub.
>>>So is Amazon going to release their format to everyone including companies so their employees can use a Kindle?
I don’t know what you mean by that. Anyone can create a Kindle format eBook, just as anyone can create an ePub format eBook.
Scary. As a librarian and author deeply involved in the open access movement, I sincerely hope you are proven wrong. I don’t own a Kindle and I don’t believe in proprietary formats; my own work is in ePub or xml, and I get to decide for my library whether we go with Overdrive or netLibrary…a decision this makes easier.
I’m no fan of Amazon winning:
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EPUB IS DEAD> did you tell apple yet? They seem to have missed the press release. Mobi is closer to dead than epub. Although I doubt either will die. Even with the new kindle pads or pods whatever they are the iPad has so much more of the market that kindle is eventually destined to be a niche market. With an iPad one can even download the kindle app and read books in it bought from Amazon although since the ibook app is so superior I don’t know why you would other than if a book is not available in epub format. Since the ipad reads all formats using apps I see no reason other than you cannot afford an ipad or you already own a Kindle to ever go that route.
The iPad is much more expensive but it is so much more than a book reader (for one thing you can go to online book reviews at any website) the extra price for one is easily justified.
Epub is dead.. Long live epub.
Mobi is dead now too:
But ePub is still deader.
“Apparently you’ve missed the iPad owner polls that show reading is near-last as a use for the device. And when eBook reading *is* done on it, I bet at least two-thirds are with Kindle books.”
No one I know who reads books on the iPad uses the kindle app. I used it once and have never used it again.
There are about 7 mil or so kindle readers out there. Apple sold 8 million in one quarter and about 15 million in the year preceeding june/2011. Exact numbers are hard to pin down as with the kindle. Now lets say only 25% of people who buy one read books on it. In my extended family 10 ipads i know of and all of us use them as ebook readers using epub but set that aside. That would be upwards of 4 million ipad book readers sold in one year.
Now don’t get me wrong, I really don’t care if mobi or epub becomes the standard. I just do not think epub is on the verge of going anywhere but up. And mobi will be there as well because that is all the kindle supports and Amazon have to keep pushing it.
It is not like publishing a book in either french or english. You do not have to set up the presses again and translate the book. If an author wants to publish in mobi and epub the difference in time to publish in both is in seconds to convert a book and the converters are free.
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It’s an interesting perspective, looking at it from the USA, where Amazon are much bigger in retail coverage than here in the UK.
My lady bought be a Sony Reader for my birthday today, and I find it to be more than up to the job, and epub books seems to be available with no problems, either freebies or paid-for.
Longer-term, I think there will be another step change in devices, Amazon and Sony have both upgraded their readers, while Sony seem to have the smaller, neater device with ample memory and good battery life. I think that in 2-3 years these will be seen as ‘1st generation’, with the functionality carried into other mainstream handhelds.
The Ipad is just too expensive here.
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