Gearlog and TheBookStandard share their first impressions of this year's Book Expo America.
On the hardware side, reps from Sony and a startup from The Netherlands called iRex Technologies showed off their eBook readers. The Sony Reader is not exactly news (PC Magazine reviewed it in July) but the company is still trying to gain some traction on sales. The Reader has some cool features, such as page-turning buttons, support for SD cards (not just Memory Stick), and the 800 by 600 "electronic paper" display (which offers clear reading in daylight). But at $350, it's still beyond the reach of most, save for early adopters.
The iRex iLiad uses the same display technology and has some niceties the Sony device lacks. For example, the iLiad comes with built-in Wi-Fi, so you can grab content such as newspapers and magazines online. It also has a USB slot and supports CF and MMC. Al-though more readable than the Sony Reader, this is not a pocket device; its screen is 8.5 inches diagonal. And get ready for this price tag: $650.
In the next panel, called "New Mobile Devices and eReading Software," industry insiders looked at ebooks from a consumer's perspective: through the devices and the software available to view these ebooks.
Bill McCoy, general manager of the ePublishing Business for Adobe, demonstrated the Adobe Digital Editions, which is a downloadable software program for storing and reading ebooks. Representatives from Sony and European company iRex were on hand to demonstrate their ebook readers, the Sony eReader and iLiad, respectively. Both use electronic paper display that allows for daylight reading. Lastly, Brent Lewis of Harlequin was present to give a publisher's perspective on ebooks and explain how the publisher listens to its audience and uses that information to develop their ebook programs.