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On e-Reader Tech News we track down the latest e-Reader news. We will keep you up to date with whats hot in the bestsellers section, including books, ebooks and blogs... and we will also bring you great e-reader tips and tricks along with reviews for the latest devices and accessories.

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May 2018
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Audible Audiobooks for Kindle Goes Wireless

Most everybody has probably at least heard of Audible at this point.  Amazon(NASDAQ:AMZN) has done a good job of promoting their services both as a general thing and in connection with the Kindle.  Now, to make things even easier for fans of Kindle audio books, users should find themselves able to download their new acquisitions directly over the WiFi connection just like a normal book purchase.  It’s still not available via the 3G, but that should come as little surprise given the size of audio books compared to your average Kindle data transfer.  It doesn’t seem likely Amazon would want to foot the bill for doing that via WhisperNet any time soon, really.

This is a nice change.  While it was hardly a major problem to download and transfer your Audible purchases to the Kindle via the computer, anything that streamlines the process has to be considered an advantage.  Not only does this save users the potential hassle of arranging temporary storage space and such, it means improved mobility for those of us who like the audio book option on occasion.  Not much is more annoying than finding yourself without a book to listen to when you’re not in a position to read but still want to enjoy a book.

For anybody who might be unfamiliar with the Audible service, here’s the gist of how it works.  You can sign up for either a monthly or yearly membership.  Each month or year, you will be charged a set rate and given “credits” as a result.  The basic membership option, for example, will give you one credit every month as your payment is received.  These credits can then be redeemed for the book of your choice.  Not much more to it.  I haven’t run into any interesting books that required more than one credit, but the site does assure users that this is something to be aware of.

If you want to grab Audible books via the Kindle itself, you can link your new Audible account directly to your Amazon account and have all of your existing One-Click Purchasing options simply work.  This is done by signing in through the Audible.com site.  It’s simple.  After you’re linked in, you can head to the Audible section of the Kindle store using your Kindle and look around.  Members can either use their credits at checkout or, if you’re out of them or would rather not use them for whatever option, pay using your usual method.

It’s a bit more expensive per title if you want to purchase these audio books with cash rather than using the credit system, but there are options for multiple credits per month or, as mentioned earlier, a yearly plan that gives you 12 credits all at once and is renewable at any time.  Just in case you get hooked and can listen to more than one or two per month.

At the moment, there are over 50,000 titles available through this service and the basic plan is going for only $7.49 for the first three months.  I recommend giving it a try if you have any interest whatsoever.  The pricing is reasonable and you’ll definitely notice a major difference over the Text-to-Speech option.  There’s even a 30-Day free trial that provides 2 free audio books!

International Kindle may come to Canada and New Zealand soon

No doubt many Canadians New Zealanders were greatly disappointed by the fact that International Kindle will not ship to their countries today. However not all hope is lost. According to publications by New Zealand PCWorld and The Globe and Mail, Amazon is currently involved in intensive talks with Vodafone regarding the wireless access in NZ and with three different wireless phone companies in Canada.

It looks like Amazon decided to postpone the launch rather than ship devices without wireless access to these markets. I guess this was done to avoid negative initial reviews that would hurt sales in the long run. After all, without the wireless access book buying experience for Kindle becomes even more cumbersome process that with Sony readers.

iRex Gets Verizon As 3G Carrier

300px-Verizon_logo.svgiRex’s latest attempt to best the Kindle just got a little more legitimate.  While early specs on the latest iRex Reader promised 3G wireless capabilities, actual plans for a carrier were up in the air.  That’s all changed with the announcement that iRex will be the first eReader to use the Verizon network.

The reader has now managed to duplicate many of the important features the Kindle offers.  Not only can it download books wirelessly from anywhere with cell reception, but it also is connected to the Barnes & Noble store.  Of all of Amazon’s competitors, I have to say that Barnes & Noble seems to do the best at challenging the entire Kindle experience.  In the future, buying and reading books from either company should be fairly similar.  Amazon’s strength lies in early dominance, but B&N may be able to make up for this through brand recognition and their ubiquitous brick and mortar stores.  For people who are reluctant to switch to an eReader, being able to associate with a familiar, non-cyberspace chain is going to go a long way.

But one question I have is how much customers will need to pay for data transfer.  On the Kindle, Amazon pays Sprint for all the bandwidth their customers use.  As far as I can tell, this isn’t going to happen with the Barnes & Noble store.  Not only is their store compatible with eReaders from two different companies (iRex and Plastic Logic), but both companies use different wireless providers (Verizon and AT&T, respectively).  This seems to suggest that business surrounding the wireless faculty of the readers will be handled completely separate from the B&N store.  Does this mean that wireless costs will be different for either reader?  Or that customers will need to sign contracts for service agreements?  In general, cell phone companies aren’t very well liked by consumers.  If customers are made to sign up for a data plan when buying an eReader, I think they will be more likely to consider the Kindle instead.

iRex Reader Will Also Use Barnes & Noble’s Platform

bandnIt looks like Plastic Logic won’t be only company taking advantage of Barnes & Noble’s online book store.  iRex Technologies has announced that their upcoming device will also be able to download Barnes & Noble books over 3G wireless.

This is big news for both iRex and Barnes & Noble.  News of the new iRex reader has been taken with a grain of salt, due to the company’s so-so track record.  By gaining a huge library of books to back up their 3G capabilities, the new iRex reader gains some extra credence.  But Barnes & Noble is an even bigger winner in this case.  Their store is set up to more or less mimic the Kindle platform.  Up until now, Barnes & Noble was betting on the Plastic Logic Reader to help them compete with Amazon. With the iRex reader, things are different now.  Barnes & Noble is still competing with the Kindle, but instead of manufacturing their own device they are letting their customers choose from a handful of eReaders from competing companies.

If more readers are added to Barnes & Noble’s platform, they could prove successful in luring customers away from Amazon.  Right now, however, I don’t think Amazon needs to be too worried.  With both the Kindle and the Kindle DX, Amazon is offering just as wide an array of devices as Barnes & Noble is.

Modding the Kindle For European Wireless

from iKindle3GS.EU

from iKindle3GS.EU

iReaderReview reports interesting piece of news. Someone has started a project to hack the Kindle for use with European wireless networks.  It looks like they’ve already managed to switch the modem and add a SIM card, but haven’t yet figured out the software end of the mod.

If you want to make your Kindle’s hardware compatible with European networks, the process seems fairly straightforward.  Just take the device apart, add the above mentioned pieces to the puzzle, and zip it back up.  But be warned: you won’t actually be able to use wireless until someone releases the requisite software hack.

A fun fact from the project: the hardware is designed in a way that adding your own SIM card is ridiculously easy.  Some would even argue that the Kindle was actually meant to be modded for Europe.  I find it unlikely that Amazon had hackers in mind, but they probably did design the device with Europe somewhat in mind.  Once the Kindle does hit Europe, the hardware will be more or less ready to go without any real changes in the manufacturing process.