Trojans? Spartans? Who is triumphant in the war of the ereaders?

With the holiday sales war over and all new devices already out on the market, much of January consisted of tallying up the sales numbers and looking to new developments in the new year. There have already been some big announcements: Apple’s digital textbook publishing, a possible spinoff of the Nook from Barnes & Noble, Kindle’s growing lending library, and global expansion now that the Kobo deal has been finalized with Rakuten.  Now that many more devices—ereaders and tablets alike— are in more homes post-winter holidays, these service expansions show that each platform’s ecosystem  may be just as, if not more, important than the features of the device itself.

So who is starting off 2012 reigning supreme? Read on to declare your own victor.


“Through an arrangement with Google, independent booksellers began selling e-books a year ago. Although they work on the Kindle Fire, the Nook, iPad, and most smartphones, booksellers continue to field customer questions about whether they sell the Kindle. ‘What we have learned is that it’s a lot more about the device than we originally thought,’ American Booksellers Association CEO Oren Teicher told The Bookseller last month. ‘We’re aggressively in the process of trying to develop a device that our members can sell as well.’”

— Judith Rosen, Publishers Weekly (1/9/2012)


“On the retail side, the relationship with Rakuten should offer new e-commerce channels for the e-bookseller and the devices are already available through Rakuten-owned subsidiaries and It also won’t strain existing bookseller and retailer relationships, promises Humphrey, who says Kobo devices will continue to be sold at outlets such as Best Buy and Target in the United States and WHSmith in the UK. “In fact, we expect to have an even bigger presence with our retail partners in the coming year.””

— Edward Nawotka, Publishing Perspectives (1/17/2012)


“But would Barnes & Noble want to associate themselves with any and every publisher? The New York Times and People are well-chosen: not only are they both national brands, but readers of the Times seem likely to buy more books, just as readers of People are likely to pick up more magazines and other media.

This is why the Times is paired with the e-reader and People with the tablet; it’s not just formatting. It’s a bet on developing a relationship with a customer. Regional papers and hobbyist magazines may not attract as large an audience nor turn its members into continued high-value customers.”

— Tim Carmody, Wired (1/9/2012)


“While a number of analysts made predictions that Amazon’s $199 tablet would take a bite out of iPad sales — Morgan Keegan’s Travis McCourt thought the Kindle Fire could cost Apple as much as $1 billion in holiday sales — it looks as though Apple’s iPad business emerged unscathed.”

— Zach Epstein, Boy Genius Report (1/2/2012)


“The Kindle Fire is crushing standard Android tablets in market share after only three months, according to data collected by Flurry Analytics. Measured in application sessions on Android from November 2011 to January 2012, the Kindle Fire went from a 3 percent market share to 36 percent, while the Samsung Galaxy Tab, a brand that has been on sale for over two years, dropped from 64 percent market share to 36 percent.”

— Casey Johnston, Ars Technica (1/31/2012)