Lowest cost Android tablet on the market

Currently I would have to say that title belongs to the Nook.  Ya, ya…Barnes & Noble tells you it that it just an ebook reader, but it’s running a crippled version of Android that you can root pretty easily.

It’s pretty straightforward, and you can find just about everything you need at nookDevs. Once you are done, you can load multiple ebook readers, including B&N’s android app!

Downside, no camera and no Bluetooth.

Upside, no monthly service fees!

Disclaimer: In case this wasn’t obviously clear, rooting your Nook is not warranty friendly.

You lease ebooks from Amazon, you don’t buy them.

I came to the conclusion a while ago that you don’t buy ebooks from Amazon, you are only leasing them.

First off, the highly restrictive Amazon DRM not only limits access to the ebook to their proprietary Kindle device, it restricts it to your specific device. Once you are done with the ebook, you can loan it to friend or sell it at used book store. If you want your friend to read the book, you have to give them your Kindle, because that is the only place that ebook will be displayed.

Second, Amazon doesn’t pay it’s associates a fee for any Kindle books “sold” through them. Why not? They pay the associates for just about everything else sold through their sites. Could it be that Kindle owners really are not “buying” the ebooks, but are just paying for a very restrictive lease in order to access the ebook?

Next, Megan McArdle just discovered a catch in the Amazon ebook fine print.

…there is always a limit to the number of times you can download a given book. Sometimes, he said, it’s five or six times but at other times it may only be once or twice. And, here’s the kicker folks, once you reach the cap you need to repurchase the book if you want to download it again.

I know people who buy paper books in both hardcover and paperback, but that is a different scenario. You have two separate versions of the book in different formats. One for the shelf and one to carry around and load to friends. Amazon wants its customers to buy the exact same content, in the exact same format, multiple times, because their business model assumes that their paying customer are thieves.

That is not a consumer friendly business model.

Also posted at the Urbin Report.

Update:  July 2011.  I’ve noticed for the past several months that I’m now getting associate fees from ebooks now. I don’t know if it is for all ebooks or only certain ones.  It is a change in the Amazon policy.  I do know the sale of ebooks is way, way up since this article was originally published.

Fujitsu enters the e-reader market

Before you get too excited, it won’t be released until next month, it’s only available in Japan, and it has a $1,000 price tag.

The FLEPia will however have a color screen with touch capabilities.  Old School Palm OS stylus touch control though.

The display uses a variant of LCD tech that doesn’t use a backlight.  The backlight is the power hog that has kept it from being used in a ebook reader yet.

I wouldn’t call this a threat to the Amazon Kindle or the Sony EBook reader, but it shows the market is opening up.

A Good etext reader for the iPhone

It’s called Bookshelf, and yes, it costs money. I found it worth the $10

It supports a wide range of formats including ASCII text, HTML, AportisDoc, unencrypted Mobipocket, rft & Word Docs (not docx).

I can access my Baen webscription account from it and download books directly as well as tapping their free etext library.

There is also a Java app that you can load on your computer in order to load books you already have from other sources.

So far, I’m really pleased.  A good move by Baen to support this, since Mobipocket has been very quiet about exactly when they were going to produce an iPhone app.

Previous thought on etext

From a post on another blog originally made November 27, 2007.

Here is my geek punditry for the day. The Amazon Kindle etext reader is going to sell well. It will succeed for the same reason the iPod did. The iPod did not dominate the mp3 player market by creating a better mp3 player, they did it by greatly expanding the market through its iTunes service. People who had no idea of what an mp3 was or how to create/find them now had a way to purchase digital music easily and for less money than they paid for to get the music on CD.

The Kindle has Amazon shopping built in and thus a way to purchase etext at a reasonable cost. Amazon is attempting to follow the highly successful model Apple used, and it will probably work.

I’ve been doing the etext thing for years on my Palm based PDAs. There is an amazing amount of material available, including Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Beam Piper, and a good chunk of the Baen Books catalog. I am, however, a lot more geeky than the general public. I was not part of the Apple model because I knew about mp3s and the problems with overly restrictive copy protection.

Apple’s “Kindle format” is an encrypted version of the Mobipocket format common on PDAs such a Palm OS based devices. It does support non-encrypted Mobipocket, as well as text files and a few other open formats.

The Kindle’s biggest competitor will be the iPhone, once decent reader format is available (and either iTunes supports loading it or there is some third party software you could use without having Apple brick your phone), but I think the Kindle will hold its own, for the reasons stated.