It’s been an interesting couple of weeks for Amazon’s Kindle eReader. First came the announcement early last week that a new ad-sponsored Kindle 3 WiFi will be released on May 3 (Amazon is already taking pre-orders). The price is a very low $114, or $25 off the already low $139 price of the non-sponsored Kindle 3 WiFi. And, no, you don’t have to worry about your reading being interrupted by advertisements. The ads only come into play when you place your Kindle into sleep mode and the screensaver is displayed, or you’ll see a small banner running across the bottom of the Home Page, which is only accessed when you need to do something outside of the books you’re currently reading.
Then came word earlier this week that later this year you’ll be able to use your Kindle to borrow and read books from your local public library. This is in addition to the feature Amazon started last October that allows you to loan a book from you Kindle to a friend’s Kindle. And not only will you be able to borrow books from the library, you can “write notes” into the “margins,” notes that disappear when the copy is “returned” to the library and loaned out to someone else, but magically reappear if you borrow the book again later, or even purchase your own copy. “Bookmarks” will also be retained as well. The great news for owners of older Kindles is that you don’t have to purchase a new model to partake of library lending; this feature will be made available on earlier generations of the Kindle as well.
This library lending feature actually puts the Kindle on par with competing eReaders produced by Sony and Barnes & Noble. So, too, was the ability to loan a copy of one of your books to a friend, a feature the Barnes & Noble’s Nook already had in place for some time.
So, if you’ve been sitting on the fence waiting for the right time to buy an eReader, Amazon has done their very best these past two weeks to push you off it. With book lending and library borrowing giving the Kindle features comparable to competitors, the Kindle’s low price, high-contrast e-Ink Pearl display, fast page turns, month-long battery life, and half-pound heft may make it the perfect choice among the current crop of eReaders. The Nook Color, while interesting, doesn’t have the anywhere near the battery life (a mere eight hours of use between charges) and weighs nearly twice as much—not a comforting thought if you like to read for long periods of time. On the other hand, the Nook offers twice the internal memory and includes a slot for a memory card.
These new features aren’t just limited to the actual Kindle device. They will apply to any device that can run the free Kindle App including your PC, Mac, Android, Blackberry, iPhone, iPod, or iPad. If you prefer Barnes & Noble’s Nook App, these features are already available.
You can go to this site for an easy-to-read grid-style comparison of the main eReaders currently on the market.
And remember, when you get your eReader, that critically acclaimed humorous romantic murder mystery Decisions is still only $2.99 for either the Kindle version or the Nook version. Watch for the exciting Ian Drake series of adventures involving stories of aircraft sabotage investigation and international intrigue coming to the Kindle and Nook later this year.