Amazon's Kindle is great for eBook awareness, but a disappointment as a device for eBook readers, according to Bob LiVolsi, CEO of BooksOnBoard, one of the leading online eBook stores.
"This is, unfortunately, not technological progress from a customer standpoint," said LiVolsi, "Content remains proprietary and key features like built-in lighting remain missing. All the changes are superficial. The same major issues remain. People who focus on the Kindle will miss the fact that there are better alternatives out there already.
"On the other hand, Amazon continues to spend millions on PR and eBook awareness. We appreciate that very much."
Among the alternatives to Kindle are Netbooks, Sony Readers with built-in light, Cybooks at 60% of the weight of a Kindle, Apple iPhones, BlackBerry phones, Treo phones, and other smartphones.
"Netbooks like the ones from Acer, ASUS and HP, offer much more value for the dollar," said LiVolsi, "They're backlit, take up about the same space, and they're non-proprietary. You can have the same eBook on four to six devices at the same time. Many of our customers share eBooks this way within their families, just as they might pass around a paperback. The Kindle does not allow for any of this."
Netbooks, according to the specifications of the Acer and HP, are very small laptop computers that can be purchased for less than $300. They run Windows XP – not Vista – and offer full computer functionality for email, Microsoft Office applications, and the ability to download several different eBook formats to them.
"Our customers also like Apple iPhones and Sony Readers," said LiVolsi, "Almost all smartphones can read eBooks and the Sony Reader, while expensive like the Kindle, has a built-in light and uses Adobe Digital Editions, a non-proprietary format that can also be read on Windows PCs, Macs, desktops, laptops, and Netbooks."
BooksOnBoard's eBook sales have grown by double digits every quarter for the last two years. Based in Austin, Texas, it is one of the largest resellers of Adobe format and Mobipocket format eBooks globally.
Website: BooksOnBoard (http://www.booksonboard.com/)