Barnes and Noble has partnered with Plastic Logic to create an eBook reader for spring release. Will it rival Amazon’s Kindle even as it hits worldwide distribution? And will either platform begin to include audiobooks as a standard feature?
Like its competitors, BN’s reader will be about the size of a trade paperback. It will offer clear text and graphics. This is pretty much standard in eBook readers. BN’s projected improvements include color graphics and book lending.
Right now, eReaders all deal in grayscale for text and graphics. A color screen will certainly add to the “wow” factor in appearance. BN promises other advanced features, but has not yet announced specifics.
One complaint from Kindle users is that it is impossible to loan a book that you have enjoyed to a friend.
BN is pursuing a way to loan eBooks purchased from their eBookstore. This could entail allowing customers to temporarily give a title to a friend. This could obviously affect sales, so the number of loans will likely be limited.
The BN eReader will not hit stores until Spring of 2010 and the price has not been announced.
On October 19, Amazon plans to sell the Kindle in Asia, Africa, Europe, Australia, and South America. The selling price of $279 USD will include global wireless download capability. The unit has a 6 inch display with 2 GB of memory to hold up to 1,500 books. It also has the integrated text-to-speech audio feature.
Most of the titles will be English language titles, with a few foreign language options available. Bestsellers will cost $11.99 USD, slightly higher than the cost within the US. The Amazon store sells from the US and purchases are made in US dollars.
Will Barnes and Noble be able to compete with Amazon? Will either company find a way to integrate a formal audiobook reader into their regular models? Time will tell… I’m still holding out…