By Stephanie Burkhart
Ebooks are on the rise. In 2009, the ebook market grew more than 170%. According to eBook Newser, dated 8 Apr 2010, sales reached $313 million last year, overtaking the audio book market. Ebooks are selling better than audio books.
When Amazon launched their ebook reader, The Kindle in November 2007, it invigorated the ebook market. By using a built in wireless 3G networks, the Kindle allowed for download of a book with just one touch. What the Kindle did in November 2007 was to bring to the forefront awareness and demands for ebooks. In fact, Amazon had a record Christmas in 2009, selling more ebooks than print books.
What are some of the benefits of ebooks? The ebook reader is small and convenient to carry. They hold a lot of books, freeing up shelf space. There's no shipping costs or wait time. They are also environmentally friendly; they don't need paper.
So what ebooks reader is good for you? I'll take a look at the most popular models, The Kindle, Nook, Sony ereader, and the iPad.
The Sony ereader has several models and it's lowest model, at $169 is the most affordable of the ebook readers. It's lightweight and uses E Ink technology so it's easy on the eyes. It supports multiple formats such as ePubs and PDF. You can buy books from the Sony store for it. It can stay charged for up to two weeks. In this model though, I don't believe there's a direct wireless link to the Sony store. In the Sony Daily Edition for $349 it has the ability to download wirelessly.
The Amazon Kindle also has several versions and the cheapest model is $189 which allows for the wireless delivery of books through the Kindle store using a 3G network. It also uses E Ink technology and has a text to speech capability so you can listen to your book audibly. There is a "music" folder on the Kindle which I believe supports Audio Books. For me, it's a learning curve. I have an audio book on my Kindle, but it is in the wrong folder. LOL!! I need to re-synch and put it in the right folder then try it. I'll let you know if it works. There's also a larger screen version which is approximately 10" x 7" for $489.
The Barnes and Noble Nook is also available for $149. The $149 model uses WiFi Only. The $199 model uses both 3G and WiFi. It also has E Ink technology. What makes it unique from the Kindle is the touch screen technology which allows it to function similar to an iTouch. You can also expand the memory. It, however, does not offer text to speech.
I've heard it said the iPad is like a bit iTouch, but I don't know how true that is. However, the iPad is the pricest of ebook readers with it's lowest model coming in at $499 and that's not including the service plans. The color is vivid, it doesn't use E Ink, and you check your email and surf the web on it as well as download books. There is a Wi-Fi network which comes with the $499 model. 3G costs more and there is a monthly payment plan. While the iPad is fantastic in it's graphic colors, touch technology and ability to do more, even with the lowest model, it is priced at $499, which may make it finically unaffordable, especially for those who just want to read.
Did I mention the Kobo? It was released on 17 JUN this year and it is going to support the Borders Ebook Store. The cool thing about KoBo is that is will allow for synching between smart phones uses a bluetooth. Kobo serves international markets and Canada.
Before you buy, shop around and ask people about what they have. If you just want to read books, the Kindle, Nook, or Sony ereaders might be for you. If you're a "Techie" you'll love the iPad.
Ebooks are here to stay and there's no indication the market for them is going away. They truly are riding the wave of the future.