An interesting day for tablets and e-readers

Amazon replaced the Kindle Fire today; the basic model gets a price cut to $159 and a faster CPU, and deluxe models get nicer (and in one case, a bigger 8.9-inch) screen. And, predictably, Amazon released new e-reader Kindles with a bit of a price cut and, again, nicer screens.

That wasn’t all.

Kobo released its new e-readers and tablets today too. They have a me-too $199 unexpandable 7″ tablet that runs a more mainstream version of Android 4.0, which is the main thing separating it from the Kindle and Nook tablets. And they have their me-too 6-inch e-readers. Most interestingly to me, Kobo also released a 5-inch e-reader. Under most circumstances I’d much rather read from a 6-inch reader, but the 5-inchers would have their uses. A 6-incher fits fine in a coat pocket, but there are a good 7 or possibly 8 months out the the year that I don’t wear a coat, which is probably the same as many people. A 5-incher isn’t much bigger than a standard smartphone and stands a much better chance of fitting into a a pants pocket, and maybe even some shirt pockets. Imagine loading up a 5-inch e-reader with reference books to take with you when shopping for Lionel trains Marx trains old computer and video games antiques. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

It wouldn’t surprise me if the 5-inch e-readers became popular with the Saturday-oh-dark-thirty crowd if someone publishes reference books for them in ePub format. I’d be willing, even likely, to just compile the information I need and dump it into ePubs using Sigil but that’s not a sustainable business model.

If Kobo could convince companies like Krause to release their collector reference books for their e-readers and advertise their availability, I predict they’d have a sleeper hit on their hands.

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