With Christmas galloping its way towards us at a frightening pace, a gift that’s guaranteed to be popular this year is an ereader. Even for us poor Brits, though, there’s plenty of choice out there. But I’m here to tell that there is no choice at all.
You’re probably already scoffing at me now. There’s plenty of choice, you may cry. iPad, Kobo, Android tablets, Kindle, Sony, Nook and many more! All viable ereaders with similar technology. And whilst this is true there is, to mind, only two things that matter.
E-ink and content.
Tablet computers use LCD displays which produce glare and chew up battery life. E-ink is like reading a physical page and consume so little power a single charge can last a month. For ereaders, e-ink is the only way forward.
Content, you might think, would boil down to how many books you can get on a particular device. Tablets actually win on this score because of their ability to offer different bookstores through apps. But, on the dedicated ereader, Amazon has launched a torpedo that struck true.
The .AZW format.
This is the format that all Amazon ebooks are sold in. It’s also a format that isn’t supported by any ereader other than the Kindle; it’s owned by Amazon and they won’t let anyone else play with it. That means that anyone who buys an Amazon book must have a Kindle or Kindle app to read it on.
Sure, you could just buy all your books elsewhere. But Amazon have 152 million customers who have already been lured in by the fact that Amazon sell almost everything. You’re probably one of them. And the odds are that most of those customers won’t go somewhere else to buy ebooks. It’s too much of a bother. And once you’ve bought that .AZW ebook, you’re stuck with a Kindle. And, as previously discussed, there’s only one real choice in that department.
So don’t let people convince you there’s an ereader war. There isn’t. Until Amazon open up support for .AZW ebooks, or adopt a more open format, there’s only one ereader that matters at all: the Kindle 4.
Don’t agree? Feel free to put me in my place.