I am a big fan of Kindle. I own a couple of Kindles. I have also tried to give other e-book readers a shot. Sony Reader was my first e-book reader before I made the switch to Kindle. To be fair, a lot of time has passed, and many new competitors have shown up to challenge Kindle’s supremacy in the e-book market. Just in the past week, we have heard about Sony stepping up its game by partnering with Google and other content networks to create a richer reading experience for its fans. We also know that Irex is also working on an e-book reader that can compete with the Kindle more effectively.
There is no doubt that Sony, Plastic Logic, and Irex will get their shot at Kindle. It’s hard to tell how they fare, but I doubt any of these devices will actually kill Amazon Kindle. You don’t have to look too hard to figure out why. The new Sony Reader is getting a lot of coverage on blogs, forums, and industry websites. Sony has worked hard to set itself apart from Amazon. Adopting open document format is certainly a good move by the company. While its nice that Kindle competitors are picking up Kindle’s strength to challenge Amazon, it’d be even more beneficial if there was a company that was coming out with revolutionary innovations in the e-book market. Apple has successfully done that job in the mp3 market, but there are no such companies in sight in the e-book market.
Plastic Logic has yet to release its reader, and it is not expected to be more than a niche player for the foreseeable future. Sony is making its move, but it’s acting in a reactive manner rather than taking a proactive approach. So we are missing the players which will truly challenge the Kindle by changing the game and putting the ball back in Amazon’s court. So far, we have seen companies jumping on the wireless bandwagon but Amazon has been offering that for a couple of years now. No company has come up with a major development to put Amazon on the back-foot. Apple hasn’t be involved in the e-book market so far, but it poses the biggest challenge to Amazon when it releases its iPad. Sony’s adoption of open doc formats such as ePub is a nice move but that doesn’t make Sony into a Kindle beater all of a sudden. What the e-book market needs is a revolutionary innovator. Sony, Plastic Logic, and Samsung are not that. Apple may be, but we will have to wait to see what Apple’s overall e-book strategy will be. For now, the search goes on.