Which eReader is right for you?

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This weekend, I enjoyed a lovely evening cookout with some publishing friends. The food was fantastic and the conversation eventually turned to eReaders and eBooks and how each of us felt personally about replacing actual books in our lives.

Even my husband, non-publishing guy that he is, jumped in to the fray.

Some highlights from our discussion:

iPad – Let’s face it, we all think the iPad is pretty cool. The bells and whistles, the 4-color screen, the portability. We even love the presentation aspect of it. Take it to a meeting with agents and buyers and you can present a title or series or imprint. Fantastic! In terms of an eReader, however, we think Apple missed the boat. Yes, it’s fancy. Yes, we can get the books we’re looking for from their store. But, reading in the sun is out. The glare makes it impossible to bring this fun new toy to the park or the patio to enjoy a good book with a cup of coffee. Outdoor summer months are hard to come by in Chicago and we all want to spend this season outside. This feature, alone, kills the iPad as an eReader for our group. We didn’t even address the subscription service to get access via 3G network. This is an added expense for convenience that helps price the iPad out of the competition for book lovers.

Kindle – Love it. Perfect for reading anytime, anywhere. The 3G connectivity makes it possible to download a book while a plane is boarding and just before the flight attendant tells me to shut it off. If you’re out of 3G network, you can download books directly to your computer and push to the Kindle. In terms of bells and whistles, however, the Kindle is seriously lacking as compared to the iPad. For the first time, the screen looks small and dirty as compared to the slick facing of the iPad. The lack of color means no 4-color books for the consumer. It’s difficult to get photos, images, charts and graphs to really translate well to the Kindle format. Even if you blow up the text on the Kindle, you can’t compete with the full-screen size of the iPad. But, if someone is in it for just reading books, the Kindle was the clear winner.

The Nook – I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge that the Nook was mentioned. But, that’s about all it got, a mention. It has a touch screen and some color but isn’t particularly intuitive to use. To be honest, none of us had spend more than 2 minutes playing with it in-store at a Barnes and Noble. It didn’t leave much of an impression on anyone at our cookout.

And there you have it. A casual conversation among friends and some insights in to how we feel about some of the fancy new toys in our industry. How about you? Do you have a Kindle? An iPad? A Nook? Some other reader that didn’t come up during our weekend discussion?

What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?

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