Best EBook Reader Device – What Now For the Digital Book Readers

Digital book readers are thought by many to be in their infancy, but they have been around long enough to make the coming months make or break, for some eBook reader device manufacturers.

The competition in the digital book readers market is increasing month on month. The next generation of eBook readers are starting to hit the stores and are going to set the direction the market takes over the next two years. So where is the industry heading, which of the current crop will take you there and what can you do to reduce your exposure to this rapid change?

The predictions are that digital book readers will propel sales of digitally downloaded books over the next five years. Although the $14 million value of eBook sales is considered small fry, many leading industry analysts insist the enthusiasm show by consumers for green products will eventually lead to this sector overtaking the traditional method of purchasing.

This is backed up by the release, over the last few weeks and months, of a whole host of eBook reader devices. Sony, Barnes and Noble and Amazon Kindle have all put out their latest offerings to the public. You would have every right to think these models are going to take us forward and, to a certain extent, be good for the next few years.

Although you would expect that to be the case, we need to look a little bit deeper in to what’s happening on the fringes of the eBook reader device market to see this is not necessarily so.

Brandon Badger, Google Projects manager, recently commented on the blog, Inside Google Books, that Google would in the near future offer free digital delivery of their one million or so library of public domain ebooks published in the ePub file format, along with other formats. No great surprise there given the companies past history of forward thinking and the influence they hold over open standards.

This move signals the future, proprietary formats are dead. The e-publishing standard will be ePub because Big “G” says so and this spells bad news for a lot of digital book readers, the new Amazon Kindle included.

Sony have seen the future and so have Barnes and Noble, with their brand new, innovative, eBook reader device the Nook – yes I know but all the good names must have been taken up – as they both support the ePub standard. Some earlier devices, such as the Bebook, also have ePub format support, something that is now starting to play in to their hands and makes them still relevant to today’s market and so well worth looking into.

Customers, it seems, will no longer tolerate having their personal library tied to one make of reader. They want to shop about for their books online the same way they do in the high street or mall, they want to be able to get the best deal, and if a reader does not let them do that it will soon become a dinosaur.

The word on the “street” is that Apple are on the verge of entering this rapidly expanding market, with their own eBook reader device, and this could be sooner rather than later. Some say as soon as the end of this current year or early 2010, but as yet Apple are silent on the subject. Add to that the Plastic Logic device set for imminent release plus a Crunch Pad from tech blogger Rich Arrington and you can see the pressure mounting on the Kindle to maintain it’s position as “Top Dog”.

We will have to wait to discover if the models mentioned above have support for the ePub file format as details are sketchy at the moment, my guess is they will have to have it or they will regret the fact they don’t.

So what does all this mean to the digital eBook readers purchaser. The first thing is you are not going to be short of eBook reader devices to choose from’ that’s for sure. They will come and go, some will be good and some bad but as a buyer you need to choose from those digital eBook readers that support the new ePub standard. By doing so, you will open up a wonderful library of ebooks to choose from, both paid for and free, and mark my words, if your chosen eBook reader device doesn’t go down the ePub route then you’re going to be buying one that does fairly soon after.