Bonus Material: Palm Pre vs iPhone in E-reading Shootout

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Palm PreCYBERSPACE: Back during the dark ages of 2002, I read Jonathan Franzen’s novel The Corrections on a battery powered Palm Pilot. It took a couple of weeks for me to finish and it came in at well over 10,000 pages on the little glowing green screen. Since then, I haven’t owned a Palm. Like most, I’m a Blackberry/iPhone/smartphone kind of guy now.

Last month, Palm got back into the cell phone fight with the introduction of the Palm Pre, its slick new iPhone competitor. By all reports, the phone is a winner – lovely to look at, easy to use – but can’t quite compete with the iPhone when it comes to ebooks.

According to tech enthusiast James Kendrick, there are just two methods available to read ebooks: Via the Shortcovers app, the ebook service developed by Canadian bookstore chain Indigo Books & Music Inc, or by a Classic Palm emulator.

The emulator looks just dreadful! Shortcovers, meanwhile, appears to be just as good as it is on the iPhone, which is decent, but still not as slick as other apps, such as the Kindle Reader, or Scrollmotion’s fancy Iceberg software (which gets a serious upgrade when iPhone 3G hits stores on June 19th – and promises new, in-app buying options).

Palm’s failure to bundle a native ebook reader with the device is a serious oversight. Among e-book devotees, the Palm/Peanut Press brand still has cache (or at the very least, I still have a cache of Palm ebooks I wouldn’t mind being able to use). Plus, it was one of the original ebook platforms. Shame on you Palm for forgetting your roots.

Ultimately, the only thing that wins in a battle over reading ebooks on the Palm Pre vs. iPhone is eyestrain.

READ: James Kendrick’s assessment.

EXPLORE: The Shortcovers store

CLICK: For a look at how the latest New Yorker Cover was designed in the iPhone.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.