I am part of the Kindle-less crowd. Yes, it’s true–I have not joined the many who have purchased and happily used a Kindle e-book reader from Amazon. Nor have I yet acquired a much-longed-for iPhone, which also has available in the iTunes store free and not-so-free e-books (depending on what you want). My time’s coming, but meanwhile, I’m feeling left behind technologically. My Treo is aging and I’ve never been really thrilled with this particular Treo model in the first place. So it was with interest that I found Barnes & Noble launched an e-book store this week with access to more than 500,000 titles.
In addition, B&N has made its corresponding eReader application available for free for the iPhone/iPod Touch, Blackberry, Mac and PC devices. In addition, PC users and iPhone/iPod Touch users can get six books free when they download the software and set up or access their B&N online account. I’m not sure why, but Blackberry users only get four free books. Meanwhile, as a Mac user, I feel gypped–we don’t get any free books. In the long run, I suppose it’s not that big a deal for me personally because I’m not really wild about reading e-books on my laptop, but an iPhone…now that’s a different story.
True, the free books are all public domain titles. It seems B&N has partnered with Google Books to provide many such titles for free. Newer books still under copyright protection seem to be available for $9.99 or less. At least I couldn’t find any in the B&N online store for more than that.
Two features that I find appealing with the B&N eReader are the ability to access a dictionary and thesaurus while reading (I think the Kindle can do this too, though) and the Rapid Serial Visual Presentation (RSVP) feature, which automatically displays the words of the book so you can read without using a mouse or keyboard. When RSVP is turned on, eReader displays a single word or small groups of words for a short time, followed automatically by the next word or words.
For more information on B&N’s e-book store and eReader, click here or click on the box in the right sidebar.