e-Readers: Book ‘Em

By all accounts, Black Friday (a mere 11 days hence) will usher in tidings of comfort and joy for the likes of Kindle, Sony Reader, Nook and iPad.

Sure, you’ve heard tech prognostications aplenty in the past when it comes to e-readers, but the breakout seems to be upon us. This time last year, 3.7 million people were reading e-books, per Forrester; now, it’s well over 10 million. With pickings like that, it’s no surprise that brands are cranking up the marketing efforts early.

Just-released Amazon ads show a grandmother buying a Kindle for her grandson. Sony has announced a partnership with Martha Stewart just in time for the holiday rush. And Barnes & Noble is hoping its in-store Nook boutiques (“our most amazing marketing vehicle,” says BN.com president Jamie Iannone) will deliver sales. “All the forces are lining up to create a healthy selling season,” says Paul Verna, senior analyst at eMarketer. “It would be hard to stop it.”

Here are snapshots of the four major e-reader players heading into the holiday retail season.