Amazon.com's latest Kindle software update offers public notes, "real" page numbers and new layout for periodicals. The e-reader market seems ripe for continued growth.
tweaking its Kindle e-reader software with the addition of new features such as
public notes and e-book page numbers that match those in the print editions.
grouped these free updates together as Kindle Software Update Version 3.1, downloadable via a page on its Website
addition to public notes, a feature that opens Kindle users' book notes and
highlights to an audience, and "real" page numbers, presumably good for classes
and book clubs looking to reference and sync their reading, the new software
includes a new layout for newspapers and magazines.
Kindle users who
are dead-set on sharing (or over-sharing) their reading experience with
everyone in the vicinity can also use the software update to immediately rate
an e-book upon finishing, share messages about that book with their social
network, view more books by the same author and receive "personalized"
recommendations for their next book to read.
Amazon remains reluctant to share any hard data related to sales of Kindle
e-readers, the online retailer perpetually claims the device is among its
bestselling. In late January, it reported sales of 115 Kindle books for every
100 paperbacks moved through its Web storefront, a number that apparently
includes sales of books without an equivalent electronic edition, and excludes
free Kindle e-books. Kindle e-book sales had already surpassed that of hardcovers,
according to the company.
Gartner estimates that e-reader sales will increase 68.3 percent in 2011, to
more than 11 million units.
e-reader market has grown dramatically during the past two years, driven by
sales of Amazon e-readers, primarily in North America," Hugues De La Vergne,
principal research analyst at Gartner, wrote
in a Dec. 8 statement posted on Gartner's corporate Website
However, "growth in North American and other markets will remain constrained by
the success of media tablets, such as the Apple iPad."
full-color tablets such as the iPad as the greatest threat to the e-reader
market, one that some e-reader manufacturers are trying to anticipate with the
introduction of color screens. Barnes & Noble's Nook Color, arguably the
most prominent example, includes a full-color 7-inch display, WiFi capability,
Web surfing and the ability to share selected passages from e-books via
Facebook and Twitter.
kept the Kindle a grayscale device, essentially betting its e-reader empire on
the theory that most customers will want a device exclusively for reading in
addition to their other gizmos. In addition, Amazon offers Kindle software for
a variety of devices, including PCs and the iPad, along with an in-development Kindle for Web application
, which will allow
users to purchase e-books via a Website and read them within the browser.