Interead’s COOL-ER eReader

Image From Interead
Image From Interead

Interead’s attempt at a Kindle-killer, the COOL-ER reader, begins shipping this month.  Designed in a style that clearly mimics the iPod Nano, it seems that Interead hopes to fill the niche of a stylish, more “hip” eReader.  The screen is roughly the same size as the Kindle 2, but at only $249.

The drop in price does have a cost, however, as the COOL-ER lacks some of the Kindle’s functionality.  Besides the absence of text-to-speech or a keyboard, the most obvious feature missing is any form of wireless.  While Interead does have its own eBook store, it doesn’t run any kind of whispernet like service and all connections to the reader are through USB.

A mostly negative review of the reader has already shown up in the USA Today.  Besides criticizing the lack of functionality mentioned above, the review goes on to complain about how Interead’s Cooler Books store compares to Amazon‘s.  New releases on Cooler Books have costs comparable to their real-life hardcover counterparts, meaning many titles are $10-12 more than on the Kindle.

But it seems the review somewhat misses the point.  Like the successful iPod Nano it is designed after, the COOL-ER provides one function at a significantly discounted price.  And while Cooler Books has higher prices, it is because the publishers are given more control.  The result is that Interead actually has a much larger selection of eBooks than Amazon, even if grossly overpriced.

Even more importantly, it’s possible to avoid the expensive Cooler Books store altogether.  Unlike the Kindle, the COOL-ER reader is based around the ePub format and not tied to any specific service.  This makes it compatible with Google’s upcoming book store.  If Google’s device-agnostic service proves to be popular, the COOL-ER is exactly the type of reader it’s average customer would own.  It certainly lacks the power of a Kindle, but at over $100 cheaper, many people would gladly give up the Kindle’s extra features.  It’ll be worth seeing how Interead competes in the future.

Feature Comparisons at a glance:

Kindle 2 Kindle DX COOL-ER
Display Size 6 inches 9.7 inches 6 inches
Weight 10.2 Ounces 18.9 Ounces 6.3 Ounces
Wireless 3G/Whispernet 3G/Whispernet No
Text-To-Speech Yes Yes No
Book Store Amazon Amazon Cooler Books
ePub No No Yes
Storage 2 GB 4 GB 1 GB
Price $359.00 $489.00 $249.00

6 thoughts on “Interead’s COOL-ER eReader”

  1. Quote: Unlike the Kindle, the COOL-ER reader is based around the ePub format and not tied to any specific service.

    umm, while the kindle has the service from amazon, it’s internal format (mobi/palm) is readily available from other sources of e-books. and they can be loaded on the kindle via USB

    other devices that use the same format include: – Palm Series (PalmOS v2.0 and onwards), Windows CE, Pocket PC, Psion (Epoch 32), Franklin eBookMan as well as software readers.

    not to mention that it can take .txt and I believe .html files as well

    so far I haven’t found a site offering e-books that didn’t have them available in this format.

    in fact, it looks like the Cooler Books bookstore probably includes this format (I think it’s the preferred format for the cybook reader), it just doesn’t list the kindle in it’s format selection dialog.

    please stop perpetrating the myth that the kindle can only get books from amazon or in an amazon proprietary format.

  2. @ David

    well, until Kindle downloads become unlimited, instead of this “guess!” game going on, I want a reader that has the most open format available, ie Epub and allows me to store the books where ever I want.

    and the Sony PRS-505 is only 10-20 more than the Cool-er and is MUCH better constructed

  3. @D,
    I don’t quite understand the statement about Kindle book downloads not being unlimited. They are. You can’t download the same book to more than 6 devices at the same time without having to deactivate one of the devices you’ve already downloaded to first (even in this case, as far as I know the book stays readable on the Kindle that was deactivated). Also there is nothing stopping you from backing up your books however you like. They’ll still be bound to the same device but that would be the case with any other digital book store that uses DRM.

  4. the only DRM with the kindle is on books that you buy from amazon.

    if you get your books from other sources you have no DRM limits on them.

    if you feel strongly about the DRM issue, you are perfectly justified in deciding that you don’t want to purchase books from amazon. but doing so doesn’t make the kindle less useful that other book readers, it just eliminates a source of books that other book readers don’t have.

    for the kindle, you can get your books in .mobi or .prc format and then store them however you want. you can even download them via whispernet from the other bookstores directly to your kindle

    yes, this negates one of the things that can be viewed as a kindle advantage, but that’s all it does. the article presented it as if other readers would have a significant advantage over the kindle if you ignored the amazon bookstore. that is not the case, the worst that it does is makes the book availability the same.

  5. any chance someone might actually say something (good or bad) about the cool-er? after all that is what the review was about!If i want to read about the kindle ill read its own review

  6. I bought both Cool-er and Kindle 3 this summer. I’m using the Cool-er. Easy to arrange files, reads almost every format and with the latest firmware the pages “turn” as fast as with kindle. Kindle… I didn’t like it much, I have to admit. I never used it’s 3G (I have thousands of e-books, so why buy from Amazon) and the way it presents PDF is horrible (as if amazon people don’t want you to read PDFs). It doesn’t read rtf or e-pub and you have to use caliber to convert the files to the mobi format. But… have you ever used caliber for an ebook of a non standard west european language? All you get is “silly symbols”.
    Anyway, to make a long story short, Cool-er was much more convenient and Kindle 3G was put aside.

Leave a Reply

Comment moderation is enabled. Your comment may take some time to appear.