June 03, 2009, 11:14 AM — As a rather voracious reader and collector of esoteric horror novels, you would think that I am completely against the concept of the eBook. Oddly enough, I love the idea. The new Kindle DX is surprisingly easy to use, read, and navigate. However, it is an expensive piece of electronic hardware. But what if I could read eBooks on my BlackBerry? Granted, it wouldn't be as readable as a Kindle, but it's one less device I'd need to cart around, and, hey, if I can read articles on the internet, I can most certainly read some literary works. Or in my case, Splatterpunk.
Not surprisingly, I wasn't the first person to think of this. Fortunately, those who thought of this before me were programmers and they have come up with something that's not too bad. Mobipocket is a very decent eReader which even has an over-the-air (OTA) eBookstore. The application is not nearly close to Kindle's standards. But, it is free and is acceptable for BlackBerry (the BB Storm version is in beta, but seems to be fairly solid). No BlackBerry? No problem. This app is available for Windows Mobile, Symbian OS, Palm OS, and other eReader devices. Oh yes, also that wonderful device called a PC. You can read a book on your PC! Will wonders never cease. I was pleasantly surprised by the Mobipocket library. I was able to find Rex Miller, Nancy A. Collins and Joe R. Lansdale novels available for the price of a paperback.
Sadly, though, the selection pales in comparison to Kindle's. And, to make matters worse for BlackBerry users... and yet another reason to buy an iPhone...there is a iPhone Kindle eBook reader. Available for free through Amazon. So all you smug iPhone users can read Edward Lee as well as a better selection of Rex Miller and Joe R. Lansdale. When will this Kindle BlackBerry port be available? Well, that is the big question. No announcement has been made. Recently, Amazon released Amazon App for BlackBerry...so fingers are crossed.
Until then, I have to say that reading a novel on my BlackBerry isn't as bad as I thought it would be. Turning pages every paragraph can get tedious, and the battery life on your paperback will far outlast your BlackBerry's. But for convenience, portability and the "it is what it is" factor, Mobipocket is a very decent application and bookstore.