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Surrounded by giants jockeying for the e-reader crown, what can a newcomer do to stand out? Copia, a DMC Worldwide subsidiary, is betting on social networking for books.
The Copia experience combines e-readers with an online community to suggest books, trade notes, and chat with other like-minded readers. Each person has a profile page with “books read” and “planning to read” lists. Social networking site Goodreads already does this, but Copia took the idea one step further by including the ability to tell a good friend about a good book right on its devices.
Pricing is still a little unclear, but the two maritime-themed-lines, Ocean and Tidal, are expected to range from $99 to $299. While the basic Ocean model will have a 6-inch ePaper display, the other two Ocean models will have 9-inch screens. The Tidal line boasts a curvier design, a simpler set of specs, and a 6-inch ePaper display.
Copia’s e-book store will offer over 250,000 books from over 1,500 publishers, as well as 1,400 newspapers and over 750,000 free books from Google Books. The e-reader itself can hold up to 1,500 books and has the ability to access your friends’ comments, suggestions, and any other book-related thoughts. If you have an e-textbook, imagine sharing your notes with your classmates and studying together virtually!
The Ocean and Tidal come with many features I tend to think are standard e-reader specs: lightweight and easy to carry, 3G and Wi-Fi connectivity, a high-quality ePaper display, and a QWERTY keyboard. There are some caveats for the basic models, though, as the Ocean 6 will not have 3G or a touchscreen and the Tidal (basic) doesn’t have Wi-Fi, 3G, or a touchscreen .
Except for the Tidal (basic), they all have expandable memory, 4GB of internal memory, tilt sensors, and USB connectivity.
The social network platform is currently in public beta. Users can search for books, discuss and compare books, and plan what books to try next. The e-readers were originally slated to ship in April, but the latest word on the street seems to be fall – just in time for the holiday season. “Fall” is a wide window, but if the idea of a portable book club appeals to you, keep an eye on the Copia site for details.
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