Get Ready for the E-Reader Rumble of 2010

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THINKING OF BUYING an e-book reader such as Amazon’s Kindle 2? You might want to wait. An impending e-reader war will give you a bevy of new models to consider, at lower prices and with diverse designs. A handful of companies, including Asus, Plastic Logic, and a British startup named Interead, are planning new devices intended to get you hooked on digitized books and newspapers. Their prices are expected to range between $165 and $400, compared with $300 for the Kindle 2 and $490 for the Kindle DX. Some of the devices, such as Interead’s Cooler, may be available in time for the holiday season. (Sony has already begun shipping its newest Digital Reader models.) For the other offerings, you’ll have to wait until early next year.

A word of caution, though: Competition is great, but it also could lead to compatibility issues among the various readers. For example, books and periodical subscriptions that you buy at Amazon’s online Kindle store are currently not compatible with non-Kindle readers. Before you buy, examine the fi le formats and digital rights management (DRM) that each reader supports, as well as the breadth of the reader’s associated online bookstores. And watch Google’s role in the e-book market. A battle has erupted over Google’s scanning of millions of out of-print books, which it wishes to make available through Google Book Search for e-book readers. Amazon doesn’t want Google to do this, out of concern that Google’s deal makes it difficult for other e-book sellers (that is, Amazon) to scan and distribute these public domain books themselves. In any case, the wave of new e-book readers means that publishers should soon see an end to Amazon’s e-reader dominance, and consumers should see lower prices and more options. The looming e-reader war can’t begin soon enough. For a look at some of the coming e-book readers, go to find.pcworld.com/63712.

Source of Information : PC World November 2009

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