Latest ebook platform – the Nintendo DS

Nintendo DS with quill stylusLooks like it’s not only the iPhone alpha geeks who’ll be able to feed their reading jones with their favourite piece of portable tech; Nintendo have teamed up with publishers HarperCollins to provide a collection of classic books for reading on the little DS handheld games console. [image by catatronic]

While it’s interesting to see more of these partnerships emerging, this one looks to be half win and half fail. On the plus side, getting affordable reading content onto a low-priced device with good penetration into the youth market and no additional fees for regular usage (in other words, the complete opposite of the iPhone) is a brilliant move; that’s exactly the demographic space publishers need to colonise.

But bundling up crusty old classics like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens? Where’s the kid appeal there? Plus most of those titles are so cheaply available in book form it seems pointless charging for them in electronic form.

HarperCollins might have been wiser to initially push out YA, chick lit and graphic novels; I expect those DS users who read fiction would be more likely to part with some money for something a bit more modern than anything by the Brontë sisters or Shakespeare. No amount of marketing speak about “broadening the user base for the device” is going to convince me otherwise, either.

2 thoughts on “Latest ebook platform – the Nintendo DS”

  1. You know, what I really want in an ebook reader is universality. I want a device that I can easily use to download books from whoever is selling them, from a private individual putting up PDF files to any publisher to Amazon. Why would I get a device that won’t allow me to download any book that’s available electronically?

  2. But it’s exactly that hardware lock-in that all the manufacturers want to trap you in! I think the turning point will be an affordable touchscreen tablet netbook computer with a decent bit of open-source software that will read or convert all the proprietary formats as well as the open / old-school formats. Give it a few years, I reckon. No point in buying separate hardware now, everything’s going to integrate into single devices fairly quickly.

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