Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Kindle Vs. Sony Reader

Yesterday in a comment regarding the post about Zondervan's partnership with Sony Reader, someone asked how the Kindle and Sony compares. Here's some info I've gathered.

Mark and I have a Kindle. (Actually it's his--Christmas present last year.) We love it. Easy to read, easy to turn pages. Great for loading manuscripts! For example, once I finish a book I can email the manuscript to his Kindle email account, and he can read it on the Kindle rather than carrying around a bunch of pages. I hear many agents and editors are using this feature now, as the Kindle also allows you to highlight passages and make notes on the pages. Not sure the Sony Reader allows highlighting or note-taking. I've heard one report that it doesn't.

Another big difference between the two is that the Kindle doesn't need a PC to transfer content to it. The Sony Reader does (and it's not MAC compatible). Let's say you're in an airport and see a new hardback for sale for $25. With your Kindle you can get online and order the book--and have it within 30 seconds--for under $10. (Assuming it's available; many new titles are going directly to Kindle.) The Kindle also allows some web browsing and has a dictionary.

With the Kindle you can subscribe to online newspapers daily or get it just for one day. Let's say you're traveling and miss your daily hit of the Wall Street Journal. You could buy a hard copy, but newspaper reading is hard on an airplane. On the Kindle you could download the day's issue in seconds. If you have a regular subscription, the minute you turn on your Kindle, the day's issue is there.

As a pure e-reader, the Sony is a little smaller and lighter, I hear. And it's cheaper.

Problem is, my knowledge is limited (and unfair) because I don't have a Sony Reader. So below are links to thoughtful analyses and comparisons of the two:

Popular Mechanics

Gizmodo comparison 1

Gizmodo comparison 2

Gadgets Page

Mid-day update: In today's comments someone has said that the Sony IS now Mac compatible.


Wandering Writer said...

Thanks Brandilyn! You're a sweetheart. I think I'll keep saving my pennies. By the time I have enough I should be able to make a decision.

Anonymous said...

The Sony is Mac compatible. I just loaded four eBooks on my PRS-505 this morning with my MacBook Pro. Check out Calibre, http://calibre.kovidgoyal.net/ .

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this. I am just starting to hear about these things. They look amazing. I'm a bit behind in the tech world...

Randy Mortenson said...

Wow, Brandilyn. I was being a bit facetious (I think that's the word) in my comment yesterday about the blogger doing the work. But thanks! This is actually very helpful. I've had my eye on the Kindle for a while (via amazon.com, finally saw a real one last weekend). Not quite ready to take the plunge, but hoping to soon. Thanks again for going above and beyond!

D. Gudger said...

On Friday Oprah deemed the Kindle one of her most favorite of her "favorite things". She gave them to the entire audience, the dude from Amazon told viewers he'd give them a chunky discount that day only if they got the code for the discount from Oprah's site.

Oprah created a lot of buzz about e-books and raved about how it revolutionized her life. She's also telling viewers that devices such as the Kindle will dramatically increase demand for good books.

As an agented but not yet pubbed author, that was exciting to see.

My question is, will the book industry suffer the same disaster as the music industry did with Napster and other pirating sites? Can people "burn" book copies and pass them to their friends, or is there some sort of coded protective measure to preserve author's rights and royalties?

How do you as a pubbed author see such devices impacting sales and demands (since books are $9.99 and instantly downloadable from anywhere?)

~ Brandilyn Collins said...

Ebook sales may be cheaper to the consumer, but what percentage the author receives is a function of what's stated in the contract. With ebooks coming more and more, there are new issues for agents to watch for as their clients sign contracts--not just in terms of royalties, but also such issues as: what constitutes a book going out of print? When a book goes out of hard print the rights revert back to the author, who can sell it again. But in e-form ... then what?

Regarding "burning" book copies, this doesn't seem to be an issue. In fact it seems to go the other way. People can pass a hardback book along to five friends. Each of those friends would have to buy his/her own ebook.

Grady Houger said...

Yay, a new niche market for electronic gadgets! It will be interesting to see how writers, publishers and readers react to all the issues of media ownership, obsolescence, and compatibility that the music and video game industries have been dealing with.

I don't need an ebook reader better than the PDA I have now, but it’s fun to see the competition starting up. Remember the electronics companies have one goal, to sell the next version. How often will they be able to convince consumers to upgrade? What pressure might they put on authors?

One important thing authors and publishing folks have the ability to effect this early in the market progression is what these devices and their users will be called. Will word focused people be content with the ambiguity of the term "ebook reader"? Does it refer to the gadget or the person using it? A creative solution at this stage could improve our quality of life for years to come.