Gadget Watch: eReaders

March 30, 2011
MDNG Primary Care, March 2011, Volume 13, Issue 2

Gadgets that are cool and useful in the medical setting.

An e-book reader, also called an e-book device or e-reader, is a portable electronic device that is designed for the purpose of reading digital books and periodicals … A tablet computer typically has a faster screen capable of higher refresh rates, which makes them more suitable for interaction. The main advantage of e-book readers are better readability of their screens, especially in bright sunlight, and longer battery life. This is achieved by using electronic paper technology.

—Wikipedia (http://hcp.lv/eko5au)

The popularity of eReaders and eBooks is undeniable, with eBook sales increasing 158% between September 2009 and November 2010 (http://hcp.lv/i5UrTi). Leading the way are the Amazon Kindle (http://hcp.lv/fg5Ia3) and Barnes & Noble’s Nook (http://hcp.lv/hM4sJm). The iPad is right up there with both, but we consider it to live in the tablet computer family. The Kindle comes in two models, one with Wi-Fi for $139, and one with free 3G and Wi-Fi for $189. The standard Nook runs for $149 (Wi-Fi) or $199 (3G Wi-Fi). The Nook Color will set you back $249, but that extra $100 covers more than the change to color from black and white, with the Nook Color offering a multitude of extra features. In fact, most eReaders come out of the box with more to offer than electronic paper. Let’s take a closer look.

Kindle

• Free Wi-Fi access at AT&T hotspots in the US

• Share book passages using built-in Twitter and Facebook integration

• Built-in PDF reader

• Access to audiobooks, periodicals, and blogs

• Lend eligible books to other Kindle or Kindle App users for 14 days

• Sync your books with another Kindle, or Kindle App-enabled iPhone, iPad, PC, Mac, Android device, or BlackBerry

• Text-to-speech technology reads English content out loud

• Built-in dictionary with instant lookup

• Highlighted passages based on number of other Kindle readers who’ve highlighted that same passage in their eBook

• Wireless access to Wikipedia

• Listen to MP3 files

• Play pre-loaded and downloadable, text-based games

• Search within a book, across your library of eBooks, in the Kindle Store, or on the Web

• Organize your library by any number of categories

Kindle 3G

All of the above, plus:

• Free 3G wireless in more than 100 countries and territories

• Enhanced PDF reader

• Free 3G Web browsing

Nook

• Share books with other Nook or Nook app users

• Sync the last page read on the Nook or Nook app-enabled device with another, automatically opening to that page regardless of what device you use next

• Organize your library by any number of categories

• Special offers and content when using the Nook at any Barnes & Noble store

• Read books for free for up to one hour while at any Barnes & Noble store

• Play chess or Sudoku, or complete a crossword puzzle

• Free 3G or Wi-Fi Web browsing

• Highlight any word in a book and instantly look up its definition

• Store and listen to roughly 26 hours of audio

Nook Color

All of the above, plus

• Full-color touchscreen for viewing images, MP4 videos, and text

• Auto-downloads of your favorite newspapers and magazines when the latest issues come out

• Free, 14-day trials of any magazine

• Interactive technology allows for text expansion and imaging zooming for an increasing number of children’s books

• “Read To Me” technology reads stories aloud

• View contacts’ bookshelves and borrow any book for up to 14 days

• Import Google contacts and share favorite passages with them via Facebook or Twitter

• Access Pandora Internet radio

• View Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files

• Transfer and view PDF, ePub, and JPF files to Nook Color

Ten Bucks for a Digital Book, that’s Outrageous

The average price for the eBook version of many New York Times bestsellers is about $9.99 across all eBook stores. “Why do I have to pay 10 bucks for the digital version of a book that I can’t lend or donate to just anyone?” you ask. “How much could it possibly cost to produce that, and where does that money go?” Well, printing and shipping make up a very small margin of a book’s costs. The majority of costs are in sales, marketing, product development, and editorial, fixed costs that exist regardless of whether a book is in hard copy or digital format (http://hcp.lv/hxHhEE). For example, for an average $27.95 hard copy book, $3.55 (13%) goes toward pre-production (editors, graphic designers, etc), $2.00 (7%) toward marketing, and $4.19 (15%) toward author royalties, leaving $2.83 (10%) for printing and $2.80 (10%) toward the wholesaler (both not needed for eBooks) and $12.58 (45%) toward the profit margin for the retailer (http://hcp.lv/gxYYzL). Using that same breakdown, and adding the printing and wholesaler costs to the retailer’s profit, you’d get the following for a $9.99 eBook: $1.30 for pre-production, $0.70 for marketing, $1.50 for author royalties, and $6.50 for the retailer’s profit margin. So, one would deduce that retailers are making a higher percentage off the price of eBooks, but aren’t you paying for shopping convenience, portability, and to save a tree?

The eReaders You Don’t Know...

  1. Pandigital 7” Novel Color http://hcp.lv/h4ejOJ Cost: $150 Color: Yes Audio: Yes Video: Yes Web: Yes Input: Touchscreen Batterylife: 6 hrs

  1. Kobo http://hcp.lv/h13bPV Cost: $139 Color: No Audio: No Video: No Web: No Input: Keys Batterylife: > 6 hrs

  1. Libre Pro http://hcp.lv/fyxa93 Cost: $129 Color: No Audio: Yes Video: No Web: No Input: Keys BatteryLife: 24hrs

  1. Sony Reader Touch http://hcp.lv/dWlNn8 Cost: $229 Color: No Audio: Yes Video: No Web: No Input: Touchscreen BatteryLife: 48hrs

  1. jetBook http://hcp.lv/fRAZ8w Cost: $179 Color: No Audio:Yes Video: No Web: No Input: Touchscreen and keys BatteryLife: >20hrs

  1. Elonex 700EB http://hcp.lv/f3YPXP Cost: $130 Color: Yes Audio: Yes Video: Yes Web: No Input: Keys BatteryLife: 5.5hrs

  1. BeBook Neo http://hcp.lv/hgS8KP Cost: $249 Color: No Audio: Yes Video: No Web: Yes Input: Touchscreen and keys BatteryLife: 24hrs

  1. WISEreader N518 http://hcp.lv/hMJ3L8 Cost: $299 Color: No Audio:Yes Video: No Web: No Input: Touchscreen and keys Batterylife: 133hrs

  1. iRiver Story http://hcp.lv/ij3CFq Cost: $199 Color: No Audio:Yes Video: No Web: No Input: Keys BatteryLife: 20-25hrs

  1. PocketBook Pro 902 http://hcp.lv/fRRDre Cost: $329 Color: No Audio: Yes Video: No Web: Yes Input: Keys BatteryLife: 24hrs

  1. Alex eReader http://hcp.lv/hFGg9M Cost: $399 Color: Yes Audio: Yes Video:Yes Web: Yes Input: Touchscreen and keys BatteryLife: 6hrs

  1. Cruz Reader http://hcp.lv/e9or0W Cost: $149 Color: Yes Audio: Yes Video:Yes Web: Yes Input: Touchscreen BatteryLife:10hrs