Borders has joined Amazon and Barnes and Noble by opening an eBook store and providing apps for Blackberry and Android phones. In reality, the Borders eReader application is a Borders branded version of Kobo, which I have written about in the past.
Unlike the Amazon Kindle app for Android, the Borders app has an in-app bookstore. The store provides a couple of different ways to find books, one of which is a section called Discover that includes the following lists: New York Times Bestsellers, Oprah’s Book Club, 2010 Pultizer Winners, and more. One of the more intriguing of the lists is Can’t Get This in iBooks, which I assume is a list of books that you cannot find in Apple’s iBooks store. You can also browse Border’s entire eBook store by category.
I decided to check out Border’s store and bought a book using the Android app. Unlike in-app purchases on an iPad that uses your iTunes account, the Border’s in-app purchase does not use Google check-out, instead you buy books directly from Borders. You do have the option of storing your credit card information so you don’t have to re-enter it, or enter it each time. The purchase pretty much completed as planned, though I received an application error at the end of the purchase even though the purchase was successful and the book began to download to my phone.
Reading books in the Borders app is the exact same process as with Kobo. You turn pages by tapping the left or right side of the page and tap the middle of the page to display a slider that you can move to move within the book. When you press the back button to exit the book the app automatically bookmarks your current reading location.
To test the synchronization of the Borders app, I installed the Borders app on my iPad. The book that I purchased appeared in the I’m Reading section of the iPad app, and unlike the first time I used the Kobo app, the book opened at the location where I stopped reading on my Nexus One. Unfortunately, while synchronization is working from the Android app to the iPad, it is not working in reverse. After reading a few pages on my iPad I closed the book and opened it on my Nexus One and it opened where I had left off when I was reading it on the Nexus One. Clearly Kobo & Borders is working on the synchronization, so I have no doubt that synchronization will eventually work.
Android users now have three multiplatform eReaders and bookstores to chose from, Kindle, Kobo, and Borders. James Kendrick has done some research comparing the pricing of the major eBook stores and found the store’s prices to be the same, therefore the choice of which eReader app to use will come down to features and whether you have already purchased books from one of the stores.
The Android Kindle app provides the ability to add notes and highlights to books, and synchronization is flawless between the apps on Android, iPad, and the Kindle, but it does not have an in-app store, instead you are redirected to Amazon’s mobile web site to buy books. The Kobo and Borders apps have less features than the Kindle app, but do have an in-app store.