Well look at that, Barnes & Noble is getting into the e-book game. Right now, there’s no stand-alone reader to go along with the company’s just-launched e-book store, but it’s not big deal; odds are you already have the reader. (A reader, created by Plastic Logic, is scheduled to go on sale early next year.) The store, which has “700,000 titles” on its servers, goes live alongside an iPhone (and iPod touch) and Mac/PC reader software. That is, as you fire up, I don’t know, iPhoto or Notepad, you could be reading The Beckham Experiment.
The store doesn’t look any different than the rest of BN.com, which I guess is what you want here. There’s an “eBooks” tab up top, and you’re greeted by all sorts of people having a good time reading books on iPhone and laptops.
And for all of the book industry’s bitching about the low cost of e-books from Amazon, every book I just looked up costs $9.99. Some Bill O’Reilly book costs $9.99; some book about the Obama campaign costs $9.99; and the David Beckham book I referenced earlier also costs $9.99. It’s a shame, then, that I literally just received the hardcover version of the book this morning, from Amazon. It’s just as well: I have a raging headache right now, and the last thing I want to do is stare at my MacBook’s LCD a second longer than I have to today.
So yeah, looks okay to me. Normally I’d have no problem reading books on my laptop, but today I’ve learned a lesson: it’s a little easier to read a paper book when, again, your head is throbbing, than it is to stare at a screen. Hopefully BN’s entry into the e-book game insures Amazon doesn’t get too drunk with power vis-à-vis its stranglehold on the e-book market.
I look forward to price wars and so forth.