4 Comments

Summary:

The crowded e-book market has just squeezed in room for one more contender, as iriver has created an eInk reader that works with the Google Books store. Priced at $139.99 and available from Target, the iriver Story HD can access 3 million free titles plus various paid content.

google-books-ereader

The crowded e-book market has just squeezed in room for one more contender, as iriver has created an eInk reader that works with the Google Books store. Available on July 17 at Target’s online and retail stores, the iriver Story HD costs $139.99 and has access to more than 3 million free titles through Google via Wi-Fi. Paid titles are also supported through the Google Books storefront, which competes with virtual shelves from Apple, Sony, Amazon, Kobo and Barnes & Noble, to name a few.

The iriver device looks similar to Amazon’s Kindle, complete with a QWERTY keyboard and eInk display. There’s no touchscreen technology that I can see, something the newest Nook from Barnes & Noble recently gained at the same price point. Instead, page navigation appears to be handled by a four-way button between the keyboard and the display. Even without any hands-on experience, I’m not sold that this method is the most effective or comfortable.

Google launched its eBooks platform in December, bringing eBook content to desktop browsers as well as mobile devices such as those that run Android or iOS through a mobile app. The new iriver Story HD adds an option for those wanting a “pure” eReader experience with high-contrast electronic ink, but I don’t see a huge market for the device. Google may change my mind in the future, however, because it offers Google Books APIs for device manufacturers and developers to connect to the Google Books platform.

It is worth noting that Google says that any eReaders that support Adobe’s eBook platform can already use Google Books. Dedicated eReaders from Sony and Barnes & Noble support Adobe eBooks, so why the need for a Google Books version? The only reason I can think of is store integration, which the new iriver Story HD provides. Is that appealing enough to sell this device, or do you think this is a flop in the making? Have at it in our poll!

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  1. Briana Myricks Monday, July 11, 2011

    Great resource but why buy an ereader like this when you can get the books for free? Is Google backing this or do they just allow access to the books?

  2. borax99 (Alain C.) Monday, July 11, 2011

    You can argue about Amazon “lock-in” all you want, but the Adobe solution, for anyone who has had to mess around with it, is a pure nightmare so, yes, I smell a huge flop.

  3. Jason Thibeault Monday, July 11, 2011

    Being in the e-book space (www.dimenovelpublishing.com) definitely see this one bombing. I think the attitude around direct-play e-reading devices is changing. Where before it was about Amazon establishing position, now the Kindle is really a loss-leader to long-term media consumption and purchasing. The tablet market will eventually erode the entire direct-play e-reader market.

    http://blog.jasonthibeault.com/index.php/2011/07/11/we-need-consolidation-not-expansion/

    Jason

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