Borders' E-Book Store: From Browsing Titles to Reading Books

Of course, if you're not using a dedicated e-reader you have choices beyond Borders. The iPad supports iBooks, Kindle, Barnes & Noble and now Borders e-book shops. Android supports Kindle and Borders. The Blackberry supports Kindle, Barnes & Noble and Borders. And so on. The common theme here is that Kindle runs on everything the other bookstores run on, apart from the dedicated e-readers. So why would you choose the Borders e-book store over one of the others? Honestly I don't know. Borders does have a list called "Can't Get These in iBooks" which just seems like an attempt to try to sell themselves as the best e-book store on the iPad and iPhone, while blithely ignoring the elephant in the room that is the Kindle store.

Comparing pricing across these stores is hit or miss. You can check a lot of books and find all the e-book stores have them for about the same price, then stumble upon an anomaly like Stephen King's Under the Dome which is $9.99 in the Kindle store, $9.99 in the Barnes and Noble store, $16.99 in the iBooks store and $16.99 in the Border's store. On the other hand, looking at a random new release, Sizzling Sixteen, it's $12.99 across all the stores. And I'm sure if you dug around enough you could find books that are cheaper on iBooks and Borders than they are in the Kindle and Barnes & Noble stores. In the end what I do is install all the e-reader software apps, then compare prices when I'm ready to buy a book and buy it from wherever is cheapest. If they're all the same price, I personally go with Kindle since it syncs bookmarks and last read page between my iPad and Android.

And if you're using a dedicated e-reader, then you just have to buy from the store that your device supports, which is the number one reason I've avoided, and will continue to avoid, dedicated e-reader hardware. [Update: See the comments, I may be wrong about this, and I'd welcome more clarification on how various e-readers interact with the different stores.]

Border's is the last major bookseller in the US to get their e-book house in order. Are they too late to carve out a niche? Possibly. It'll depend on whether they can cut better deals and offer e-books at better prices than the other stores. Or failing that, sell a ton of Kobo e-readers to customers at their brick & mortar stores. To their credit, they've already got better hardware support than Barnes & Noble does (B&N has yet to release an Android app), and it'd be nice to see them get cross-device syncing working. But at the end of the day, it's all about having the widest variety of books available at competitive prices. Does Borders have more clout than Amazon when it comes to negotiating with book publishers?

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