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Elonex and Borders UK launch eBook

by Scott Bicheno on 2 July 2009, 09:42

Tags: Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN), Elonex

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Window of opportunity

UK vendor Elonex has partnered with book shop Borders to launch the eBook in the UK.

The digital reader market is still in its infancy, but has received a lot of publicity from the release of the Kindle by giant e-tailer Amazon, and California governor Schwarzenegger suggesting they should become standard issue in schools.

To date, however, the Kindle has yet to make an appearance outside the US, so Elonex and Borders UK have decided to capitalise on this opportunity to get a head-start in the UK.

The Elonex eBook weighs 180g, can hold 8000 eBooks with a 4GB expansion card and claims to offer three months of reading between charges.

"The future of eBook is very exciting as the technology, which is already very advanced, becomes increasingly sophisticated." said Elonex marketing manager Sam Goult. "Elonex sees the future of homes, schools and businesses involving eBooks as a way of distributing information, with the ultimate goal of a paperless society which will significantly decrease the nation's carbon footprint."

You can access Borders' 45,000 eBooks here, but it looks like they want you to go into a Borders shop in order to buy the reader. It costs £189 with 100 pre-loaded books thrown in. An accessory pack of leather case and 4GB expansion card costs £29.

HEXUS Forums :: 14 Comments

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Finally someone willing to take this on in the UK :D

I still prefer to have the paper based book in front of me but after using a few of these ebook readers at work the screens are great on them and I don't think you would suffer any problems reading these for hours on end as you would any paper based book. Although I do notice that this one seems to have a different screen on it and the black text on a bright white background could be an issue for prolonged reading, the sony one we got through work for staff has a grey screen and black text and its a lot nicer on the eye.

I do think though that the price need to drop a little in order for them to sell but then again those in my local borders seem to splash the cash.
I think these are one of the best creations really, they are important to schools because it can save crap loads of money. My school(sixth form) cant afford to give us text books any more, they spent it all! So imagine having one of these, initially its a bit expensive but after a few years its easy to update to new books and alot cheaper.
100 free ebooks does make a huge step to accepting the hefty price tag. Looking at the borders site ebooks seem to be £7-8 so effectively they are giving you about 4x the cost in free books.

The question remains though, how many ebooks will they be able to provide that I (or anyone) might be interested in reading…. A quick flick through the sci fi and fantasy section shows a couple of dozen books, many of which are old (and some bizarrely priced)… This is not something i am holding against borders, its up to the publishing houses to get their act in order and start to really push ebooks.
Give me the power of a netbook in the size of an eReader, and i'll be a happy bunny
Here's my problem …. or part of it.

Borders ebooks don't seem to gave a vast stock. The Sci_fi and Fantasy range, for instance, is poor.

But more than that

[B]Some Terry Pratchett titles:
Title                Borders ebook      Amazon print book        eBook Premium[/B]
Wintersmith            £14.99                £4.99                £10.00
Reaper Man              £7.99                £5.49                 £2.50
Fifth Elephant          £7.99                £5.49                 £2.50
Even Borders do Wintersmith at £5.24, Reaper Man and Fifth Elephant at £5.99 each.

Given that print books have to be more expensive to produce, transport and stock than an eBook download, I can only conclude :-

1) Borders believe there is some significat benefot to the eBook over the print version that justifies the price, or

2) They're milking it for all it's worth.

There are, clearly, advantages to an eBook, one of which is carrying large numbers of books around in one device. Fair enough. But worth that premium. Not to me.

And then there's the killer. Paying the best part of £200 for a device to read eBooks I have to pay a significant premium to buy? Not hope in hell of me doing that.

So, yes, the eBook reader principle appeals, but until (and if) the readers drop in price a LOT, and the eBooks themselves are much, much cheaper, it's not a technology I'll be buying into. As for the free 100 books, well, I want to see a list of exactly what they are. I'd bet that most, or all, will represent exactly zero interest to me.

eBooks and eReaders may well be how the future looks, but they've got quite a way to go before they'll get me buying one.