Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Kindle - doomed to fail?

Although the Kindle e-book reader was launched in a blaze of publicity by Amazon a couple of years ago, it may become obsolete as phones get smarter. The popularity of touchphones is unquestionable, and they come with large enough screens to be used as e-book readers themselves.

Barnes & Noble Inc., one of the U.S.’s largest book retailers, has launched its own free e-book reader application which can be downloaded onto your iPhone, Blackberry, PC or Mac and versions are coming out soon for most other makes and models of touchphones. And B&N are not the only ones developing free e-reader apps for phones.

This may well render the need for a separate lump of plastic – and very expensive plastic, I might add – to read e-books on unnecessary. The limitations of the Kindle may also see it become outmoded, as the Kindle is only available in the U.S. and us poor non-American folk will likely never see it implemented in other countries.

Barnes & Noble’s e-reader can be downloaded here, and it comes with a few free classics, such as the Last of the Mohicans, Dracula, Little Women, Pride and Prejudice and Sense and Sensibility.

I prefer the feel of paper under my fingers, myself, but e-books can serve a useful purpose, such as those times you travel by bus or train. Hey presto – you can now read an e-book on your phone and can avoid making eye contact with those sitting next to you.

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