This week, Google announced that starting July 17 the iRiver Story HD e-reader will be available for sale at Target. The iRiver Story HD is the first e-reader integrated with the open Google eBooks™ platform, through which consumer can buy and read Google eBooks over Wi-Fi. It retails for $139.99 and has a high-resolution E Ink screen and a QWERTY keyboard.
To help answer booksellers’ questions about the new device, the IndieCommerce team has put together this FAQ.
Does the iRiver Story HD e-reader link to IndieCommerce sites for purchase?
No. It links only to the Google eBookstore.
Can it read e-books purchased from IndieCommerce websites?
Yes. Although IndieCommerce staff has not had an opportunity to test it yet, we believe it can.
Is this Google’s “Kindle”?
No. Google has a very different relationship with this device. Google is not making the e-reader, nor is it selling it. Instead, Google makes their APIs available to any hardware manufacturer that would like to build a device that can integrate with Google eBooks. So, if you are a company manufacturing e-reader devices, you could choose (as iRiver has) to build a device according to specifications provided by Google. As news articles suggest, there will be more such devices coming in the future from different manufacturers.
This is not unlike Google’s retailer program, which IndieCommerce participates in.
Will ABA have a device like this?
The American Booksellers Association is moving forward with development of an e-reader app and is talking to device manufacturers about creating a device that would come with the app preinstalled. Google is supporting and encouraging this effort by providing us and potential partners with access to the same APIs used by iRiver.