fight.jpgThe always excellent Carly Z has a clever article on Gear Diary today:

For this week’s “State of the eBook” I thought we should look at potential winners and losers in the ebook world. With competition and price wars getting fiercer, there’s a few major battles shaping up that may change the competitive landscape. One is (at this point) a slam dunk, while the others are subject to many variables. Without further ado, here are the matchups!

Borders vs B&N
B&N vs Amazon
Amazon vs B&N and Spring Design
Spring Design vs B&N
Amazon, B&N, Spring Design and Borders vs the iPad

If you want to see who her winners are you’ll have to go to the site.


  1. One of the more interesting points: the author doesn’t bother to match up Sony against anyone.

    Second, this is entirely US centric: and while the English speaking US market will almost certainly be the major factor in who wins and who loses, it’s probably a BAD idea to discount Amazon’s strength internationally vs, for B&N. (The same applies to the Kobo: it’s not just Borders — it’s Canada, Australia, NZ and Wal-Mart (at least in Canada). If Kobo has a deal on the front-burner for UK, for example, it makes them stronger.)

    For these reasons, B&N vs Amazon does NOT feel like a “tie” at the moment.

  2. Alexander-

    Good point on Sony…to be honest, I meant to and forgot entirely. I will try to add them in later. Sony, IMO, squandered a huge first mover advantage, and price drops that still keep their prices FAR above comparable readers doesn’t help.

    As far as the US-centric view, that’s very true. I am in the USA, and the best I can do is comment on what I see here. If I had more time I’d happily cover the overseas markets as well, but it’s not always that easy. However, in the future I’ll try to add in that caveat if I’m not commenting on a wider view.

  3. B&N is completely not a factor outside the USA and I think that will hurt it. One of the things that allowed Kobo to spread so far and wide, so quickly is that they have basically paired up with the Borders analogue in every country they penetrate. Indigo in Canada for example is the sole major book chain, and it’s one of the majority owners. Another majority owner is a major chain in Asia…

  4. Carly,
    Besides what I mentioned at your site, Barnes and Noble U.S. customers CANNOT buy B&N books for their Nooks while they are traveling out of the U.S.

    Amazon’s U.S. customers can buy Amazon Kindle books while out of the country using the U.S. availability. Other countries can also order from Amazon but their pickings are slimmer, but even that beats what just happened with B&N’s Fictionwise.

    The Kindle’s free 24/7 3G web-access in over 60 countries right now for accessing mostly text-based websites (mobile device) is no small thing, especially since they have sped it up, and is a HUGE plus over the Nook, whose 3G is useable only at the store.

    I don’t see a tie at all, especially after trying the dictionary, search and annotations features in the Nook, which are subpar and take several menu steps to even get them.

    I give the Nook higher marks for exterior design though and its access to your local public library e-books.

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