Preorders are now being taken for the June 17th US release of the Kobo eReader through Borders.com (NYSE:BGP), and this is only the beginning of their increased association with eReading devices. In a move that apparently abandons their previous efforts at an eBook store through Sony’s (NYSE:SNE) distribution channels, Borders will be launching a Kobo-powered eBook store along with the release of the device. This store will service the obviously affiliated Kobo eReader, but also work with just about anything else you have handy to read on, in keeping with the Kobo store’s existing philosophy. Supported devices currently include just about everything but the Amazon Kindle, including but not limited to the B&N nook (NYSE:BKS) and the IREX DR-1000S.
The Kobo device will not be the only eReader technology being embraced by the Borders physical store presence, either. Beginning in August, we should be seeing what Borders is calling Area-e(TM) boutiques that highlight multiple devices at any given time including, most likely, the Sony Reader line and the upcoming Spring Design Alex eReader, both of which have existing ties to the company. Time will tell if this move secures the Borders Group a real place in the eBook market, but the additional exposure of less well known devices will certainly be a boon to consumers as they try to balance budgets against a plethora of options and features. So far, the nook and the Kindle seem to have a strong lead on the features and functionality in the market, but not everybody needs quite such a wide range of options in their device.
This week has brought us the launch of a co-branded HP (NYSE:HPQ) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE:BKS) eBook store. What does this bring to the market? Not a whole lot of new insight. The new site, accessible at http://hp.bn.com is basically a new black skin on the same old B&N website. Apparently, many new HP computers will be coming with a link to the B&N eBook store preloaded and may even have the reader software already installed and ready to go.
The most important thing to note here is that there seems to be absolutely nothing new happening. Maybe it is simply a branding move to help build the presence as eReader sales wars escalate, but you would expect something a bit more substantial from such a teaming up.
The store is the same. The software is the same. The selection is the same. The frequently referenced access to the LendMe technology is nothing more than the same old feature that the software already had. There is not even any effort made to specifically market it as an eBook store; there are still tabs for normal books and DVDs as on the B&N main site. This is all distinctly underwhelming. I suppose they had to come out with something new now that the Kindle has taken the feature lead back with their Collections organization system, but from my perspective this one fizzled.
Amazon Kindle English-Russian Dictionary
One of the Amazon Kindle features that I love the most is the built-in dictionary that lets you easily look up definitions for almost every word in any book. Since Kindle allows you to install and change dictionary that is used for lookups you could look up pretty much everything, including translations. There were some English-Russian dictionaries in circulation for some time but they weren’t perfect.
First, most of them used Cyrillic letters. This means that users need to install Unicode Font Hack in order to use it (and not everyone is willing to do that).
Second, these dictionaries lacked support for word forms. So you could look up the translation of word “read”, but if you were to move your cursor to word “reading” there would be nothing.
We decided that it’s about time to fix that. We’ve compiled “English-Russian Dictionary with Transcriptions” that you can now download from Amazon Kindle Store, install and use for word lookups. This dictionary has over 55,000 words in more than 250,000 different forms which gives it much better coverage than freeware dictionaries available elsewhere. We used transliteration for Russian words so that this dictionary could be used without replacing default Kindle fonts.
Hopefully some day Amazon will install Unicode fonts on Amazon Kindle so no hacking would be needed and we could publish this dictionary with proper Cyrillic letters. But for transliteration is the way to go.
Several of my friends tested this dictionary and they couldn’t be happier about the ease with which they could read English books, learn new words and improve their language skills.
If you are a native Russian speaker who likes to read English books on Kindle but needs to looks a translation of some word on a occasion – this book is for you! People who are learning Russian will also find it useful.