Barnes & Noble has announced that they are planning to open their own ebook store. That the brick and mortar chain would make moves to compete with the Kindle isn’t much of a surprise since, like Amazon, they already are a major retailer with deep-seated ties in the publishing industry. In order for Barnes & Noble to ensure that they retain their massive share of book sales, it only makes sense that they would move in on digital media.
What is interesting is how Barnes & Noble is setting themselves up to be competitive with the Kindle platform. As of now, they are planning to price match Amazon’s standard $9.99 pricing and supply a library of 700,000 books. These books, however, can’t be read on either the Kindle or Sony’s eReaders. Instead, a partnership is being made to use Plastic Logic’s upcoming reader.
It seems like in the future Barnes and Noble and Amazon will offer very similar eBook platforms, with with similar stores and exclusive formats/DRM. The only real difference could end up being the Plastic Logic versus the Kindle. Amazon shouldn’t be too worried yet, however, since the Plastic Logic Reader doesn’t come out till next year. The Kindle is already at the forefront of eReader competition, and its household name status won’t be any different a year from now. Also, Plastic Logic designed their reader with business uses in mind, unlike the Kindle which was planned for the everyday consumer all along. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
1 thought on “Barnes and Noble Setting Up to Compete With Kindle”
You have some good points in regard to the lead that Kindle has on this market. However, unless Amazon addresses a major weakness of the current Kindle readers–lack of touch input–there will be a sizable migration of advanced users away from Kindle to equivalent readers which offer touch.
Navigation within reference documents, annotation, and a more direct means of navigation within linked documents (e.g., HTML content, web browsing) is a critical feature for advanced users.
I received a kindle2 as a gift but wound up returning it primarily for this reason. It was simply too ungainly to make one’s way around in any sort of reference document (converted HTML, PDF with bookmarks, Biblical texts).
I’m waiting for a kindle or kindle-like device with usable touch input which, in my usage, will offer great advantages over the present kindle versions.
Kindle today is fine for reading strictly serialized information (e.g. trade paperbacks) but deficient when navigation becomes important.