Barnes and Noble revealed their own eBook reader yesterday: Nook. I’ve been following the eBook readers closely, specifically the Sony PRS-600 and the Kindle 2.
My ideal eBook reader would have the following features in order of importance:
- use eInk technology
- native support of ePub format (the open standard eBook format)
- native support of PDF format
- wireless LAN support
- no physical keyboard
- bonus: touch screen support
- bonus: SD card support
The Kindle 2 is right out seeing as that it has no support for ePub, no native PDF support (unless you get the larger Kindle DX), no wireless LAN support, and a physical keyboard. Also working against it is the inability to play with one before buying it and Amazon’s highly ironic Orwellian fubar. The cell connectivity is a neat gimmick but isn’t a feature I’m looking for.
The Sony PRS-600 thus far has most of the features that I’ve been wanting, including the touch screen but sans wireless LAN support. I played with one of the earlier PRS-700 models that a friend purchased and really liked it. The downside is that it’s sold by Sony which while they may make excellent hardware I hate their business practices. Like use of their proprietary Memory Sticks in their cameras and laptops, their apparent disdain of their consumers of the PSP Go, and their classic rootkit escapade. Oh, and they’re in bed with the RIAA as if they needed another strike against them in my book.
The Nook seems to have all of the items on my wish list, plus a few more extras that I like (mini-SD card slot and color LCD touch screen in addition to the eInk screen). The ability to lend a friend a purchased book, even for a measly two weeks, is pretty interesting although I doubt I’d purchase books given how many interesting ones are available for free via Project Gutenberg. The ability to read any eBook in its entirety for free while inside a Barnes & Noble store is exceptionally cool. Because it’s sold by a brick-and-mortar store I can go into a Barnes and Noble and play with one before I buy it. And playing with one is the first thing I’m going to do come November 30th when the stores get them.