Battle of the e-books heats up

In the same week that Amazon’s Kindle goes global with Aussie customers able to order their Kindle 2 from next Monday another heavyweight has entered the ebook ring.

Barnes & Noble the largest book retailer in the United States is set to release its own e-book reader.

An advance set of PR shots snared by Gizmodo show the reader to have a six inch ‘e-ink’ display with an 800 x 600 pixel resolution similar to the Kindle but the un-named reader looks more like something you’d see bearing an Apple logo.

The forthcoming Barnes & Noble ebook reader looks like something from Apple’s own design studio
(pic courtesy of Gizmodo)

That’s not just because of the slick design white chassis and tapered sides but because a multi-touch panel below the main e-ink screen is used for navigation and tapping on a virtual QWERTY keypad.

The LCD touchscreen beneath the main e-ink display doubles as a QWERTY keypad (pic courtesy of Gizmodo)

The coloured LCD display also lets the user flick through their library of ebooks in a mode similar to Apple’s CoverFlow for iTunes but with book covers replacing album art.

As with Amazon’s Kindle the Barnes & Noble reader will be tired to a wireless carrier for browsing ordering and delivery of ebooks.

It’s also suggested that the reader will embrace social networking by letting users share the titles of books they’ve bought and easily post excerpts and book info to Facebook and Twitter.

The reader is said to support both unprotected titles as well as its proprietary DRM titles using the eReader format which Barnes & Noble acquired through its purchase of in March this year for US$15.7m.

The eReader format is supported by readers available for the iPhone and BlackBerry and work is also said to be underway on eReader clients for Android and Linux in the event that these are adopted by manufacturers of other eBook devices.