With their patent battles now behind them, Microsoft has teamed up with Barnes & Noble to spin its NOOK business into an as-yet unnamed subsidiary -- and that $300 million investment will at the very least nab Redmond a cool NOOK app for Windows 8.
Amazon pulled an App Store end-around today and quietly launched the Kindle Cloud Reader, a web based version of the Kindle app.
The web app supports Safari or Chrome browsers, as well as Safari on iOS 4+, and is specifically "optimized for iPad." Any book shopping you do on the web app on your iPad, though, bypasses the App Store and goes straight to Amazon's Kindle Store for Tablets.
There are more e-readers out there than you know. Not only are there devices of all kinds and configurations and price points, but there are apps a-plenty for these devices a-plenty. But everyone knows what you mean when you say e-reader. You mean the Big Three, the Top Dogs, the Big Kahunas. You mean the trinity of the Kindle, the Nook, and the iPad.
Maybe we'll talk devices another day, but for now both of the iPad's competitors dish up rather full-featured iOS apps to challenge Apple's iBooks. The thinking goes, "Don't worry about profiting off the devices; aim to sell titles, wherever, however." So how do they stack up?
Last July, Amazon reported that sales of e-books passed those of hardcovers. This January, e-book sales passed paperbacks. In March, brick-and-mortar bookseller Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Most recently, my beloved neighborhood bookstore, Cover to Cover, called it quits after decades of serving our community as a warm and friendly source of reading and research advice, as well as a comfy haven for kids, grown-ups, and old folks alike.
Even though Apple is taking on Kindle, Amazon is making it clear that they are still selling their beloved e-Ink devices. The day before the Apple quarter-end earnings call, Amazon made an announcement of its own: they sell 1.8 eBooks for every hardback book. This is quite a feat for a device that the news would have as dead in the water.