Review: Kindle and Borders eBook readers for Android

08Jul10
I’ve given both the new Kindle and Borders eBook readers a look and just wanted to post a few points about each:
Kindle
It’s been a long time coming considering how long the iPhone has had a Kindle app, but it’s finally here.
The first thing to note is only a minor disappointment; in order to buy ebooks you are redirected to a mobile browser version of the Kindle store rather than keeping things in app.  It’s not that confusing, just not a very consistent experience.
There seems to be a limited offering for UK users, I did a few searches for books and found that The Hobbit is not available and To Kill A Mockingbird (an obvious choice considering it’s 50th anniversary) wasn’t there either.  Fangbangers will be happy to find that the Twilight series is present, as is the ever popular The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo.  To give you an idea of pricing, the latter was $5.06 (£3.34), a surprisingly  reasonable price.  I suspect that the more popular books will be discounted quite heavily though in order to encourage eBook uptake.
The reader itself has a plesant UI, books you’re reading are presented on the home page, reading position is saved automatically so you can pick up where you left off.  The benefit with the Kindle app is that if you have a Kindle device these bookmarks are synchronised.  Pick up from wherever you were on whatever device you want.  Considering the low availability of Kindles in this country though, it’s debatable if this gives Amazon an edge in the UK just yet.  Still, nice to have.
Once in a book you have various display options; change the font size and the page background (white, sepia, black for night reading).  You can also alter the screen brightness specifically for the app.  You can sync your position, skip to a specific page and add bookmarks as well.  They have put just the right amount of features in, it’s not too cluttered.  There’s also a nice smooth page sliding animation when you swipe between pages.  I’m running this on a HTC Desire but I imagine it would look even nicer on a device with a bigger screen.
Borders
Borders surprised me as it seems they have an app out for most mobile platforms, including Blackberry.
Again, the store first.  This one is built into the interface, no oopening the mobile browser.  You can browse by catagory or search, the UI looks like they have standardised across platforms as it’s very remenicent of the iPhones interface (a good thing).
All prices were in dollars as well and the choice seems just a limited as Amazon.  Possibly more so.  I couldn’t find Twilight(no great loss personally) or To Kill a Mockingbird.  The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo is $8.79 (£5.80) for comparisson purposes though and the Hobbit was present at $6.19 (£4.09).
Reading the books themselves, the page flipping isn’t as slick as the Kindle app.  There is no animation or transition, a swipe takes you instantly to the next page.  Not terrible, I just hoped for more polish.  You can access the table of contents, switch to nightmode and choose a few fonts/font sizes.  No brightness control though, or page skipping.  Or bookmarking for that matter, though it will store your position obviously.
Summary
If I had to choose, I’d roll with the Amazon application.  Frankly there’s no reason you have to choose either, if you run both at the moment it seems you’ll have more choice of books.  Amazon’s economies of scale seem to have allowed it a slight pricing advantage, I can only hope they will open up the choice for UK readers and allow us to be billed in Sterling soon.  Borders do have the edge on the purchasing experience built into the app and the controls being a lot more iPhone like in simplicity.  They fall down on the options for tailoring the reading options and not being able to skip to a particular page seems odd.
Give both of them a try and decide for yourself.
UPDATE: I’ve added a review of the Barnes and Noble Nook app here
Kindle
Borders
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3 Responses to “Review: Kindle and Borders eBook readers for Android”

  1. 1 jane

    your blog has lots of useful information.
    I just started blogging a while ago and it feels great.

  2. 2 RazorX

    Buyer Beware: The Borders eReader apps. don’t come with images and are unfortunately text only ebooks.

  3. 3 Ara

    I got this web site from my pal who shared with me concerning this
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