Death of the Ebook Reader?

AKA "The inevitable iPad post"

Even though the iPad has not yet reached these shores, it seems that the world has been taken up by the frenzy of it's release, it's design, it functionality and, it's iBooks. It would seem that in just over a week the Ebook (or is it eBook?) reader has been relegated to a niche product and the LCD backlit iPad announced as the new saviour of books, newspapers and the rest of the publishing industry. Ironically the move that will save this industry is the exact same one that only a few years ago was apparently going to destroy the record industry. The iPad with it's shiny colourful iBooks and funky page turn transitions is apparently the closest thing to a real book that you will get.

Do you know what, they're probably right too, with the power of the Apple brand and the iPad hype, it's hard to see iBooks not being a success. Even setting aside the damage done to your retinas and the carpal tunnel from the weight of holding a 9" "book" I really do feel that it's going to reintroduce reading to an increasingly illiterate TV cultured society. Once they're hooked on iBooks its still not the end for eBook readers, no, it's a wake up call. The manufacturers can raise their game, not necessarily to add features, but to perform the simple task of displaying and browsing an electronic book, only better. Colour eink, touch displays (everyone who picks up my Nook and the Kindle before that intuitively try to tap the screen) are a few features that spring to mind.

Already Amazon and Barnes & Noble have released some major Kindle and Nook updates. The Kindle is to get an SDK (KDK actually) and the Nook has had a facelift (see below) along with a much needed speed and battery life boost. It's good to see continued support and development for these devices. Although having played with the Nook for a while, rooting it (similar to jailbreaking an iPhone,) installing a web browser, feed reader and other apps, I've found them to be an annoying distraction to what I prefer to use it on most, actual reading! The only third-party Nook app I wouldn't be without is Trook, which allows me to download books from my Calibre library at home, including daily "newspapers" compiled from RSS feeds and that's only because I'm too tight to buy actual eNewspapers. :)

The Nook's New Look - From stylish and minimalist to glossy and "Windows XP" like.

Footnote: The latest update to the Nook has really transformed it into a very capable device which negates most of the original concerns I mentioned in an earlier review. Although I prefer the Nook, there are still three important features missing which are available in the Kindle, the ability to export notes, rotation of display and the sorting of books by date.

Andrew Gribben @grib