Jag Venugopal's Blog

September 9, 2010

Why you should not care which eReader (hardware) you buy

Filed under: Digital Living — Jag @ 1:41 am

Amazon will soon start selling the Kindle at Best Buy and Staples. PCWorld calls it a risky move, because consumers will then be able to compare the Kindle side-by-side with the Nook and the Sony readers.

PCWorld’s assertion that it will be risky for Amazon don’t seem to bear out considering the glowing reviews that Kindle 3 has received. Amazon has priced the device very competitively, removing any initiative to go with the Nook or other readers based on price alone.

Nevertheless, a bigger purchase consideration ought to be the ecosystem you are buying into. When you buy a Kindle, in addition to the hardware, you are committing to buy ebooks from Amazon for the forseeable future. Your ebooks won’t interoperate with any other eReader unless you are in the minuscule minority that know how to break the DRM which protects Amazon’s ebooks. Similarly, choosing the Nook means that you are forgoing purchasing ebooks from Amazon, unless you can either crack its DRM or decide to buy more than one eReader.

Therefore, while eReader hardware bells and whistles are a factor, they are a minor one. Of greater importance is whether the bookstore you are buying into carries the titles you are interested in, at prices you will be willing to pay. Further, you also need to assure yourself that your ebook vendor will be in business a few years down the line — hardware lasts at most 2-3 years, and your DRM’ed purchases will need to be loaded on to new hardware from the same company for you to continue reading your books.


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