Battle of the eReaders
A friend of mine, Kevin Cullis – Owner of MacStartup.com, posed an interesting question today about Amazon’s announcement regarding their intention of going “Cloud-based” via “HTML5” with their next eReader device. Both are terms that most people are not familiar with, but with a 17-year background in IT and the fact that I still dabble in tech to keep up on my publishing business, I was able to offer the following.
I think their intention for the HTML5 implementation is to make non-iDevices capable of linkage from eBooks to Internet websites in order to increase monetization. I’ve been working with a client who is hoping to do just this, and what I’ve discovered is that eBook files (MOBI and EPUB) are currently capable of such linkage, and in reasonable complexity (including query strings and parameterization for feeding into database-enabled web applications and purchase-order pages.
When reading either of these file-formats physically on your PC or Mac, you can easily click a hyperlink and get redirected to a website. However, the Kindle 1 and 2 as well as Nook’s 1st gen and Simple Touch readers are constrained at the hardware/OS level from connecting the consumer from an eBook hyperlink out to a website on the Internet.
Additionally, Apple (in their age-old and totally irritating manner) is doing everything they can to force their customers to use, rely upon and spend their money ONLY in iTunes. From what I understand of these new HTML5 implementations, consumers will have more freedom to search and purchase their eBooks from anywhere on the Internet.
Ultimately, what I think we’ll see is that all eBook devices will simply become Internet-enabled browsers that can read MOBI and/or EPUB files. Also, I believe that the next generation of eReaders will be capable of reading both file formats. Once one of the hardware/OS manufacturers figures out that customers want all of these features
- MOBI capable (Kindle)
- EPUB capable (Nook and iDevice)
- linkage to websites
- full browser capability
…we’ll see that manufacturer rise above the foolish and counter-productive “use only my platform” philosophy that both Amazon and Apple have been relying upon in the market since this all started.
Once somebody figures it out, they’ll probably have me as a customer for life.