Do You Know Your eBook Retailers?

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple are the big dogs on the ebook scene, but they aren’t the sole providers of electronic books—not everyone who reads ebooks has a Kindle, Nook, or iPad. Let’s look at a few of the other players who still get quite a bit of traffic.

Sony. While we know that Sony has made it big in the world of computers, TVs, and gaming consoles, how do they fare in the world of books? For starters, Sony has the best ratings according to TopTen Reviews in the variety of ebook formats they provide. Not only do they give readers access to the standard EPUB format via the Sony Reader and smartphones (Android and iOS devices), but they also provide free software that enables you to read ebooks on your Mac or PC. The one downside is that the Sony Reader Store does price its ebooks a bit higher than other retailers. Nevertheless, the site is simple enough to use and has a range of books that will satisfy any book lover. And Sony is a proud partner of J. K. Rowling’s Pottermore—need we say more about the company’s dedication to the book world.

Kobo. Fun fact: the name of this Toronto-based company is an anagram of “book.” Kobo sells the most popular ereading device in Canada, and while you might not recognize the company as a major ebook retailer (if you live outside of Canada, that is), they do have an impressive ebook library and offer apps for multiple devices—so, for example, you can read from the Kobo app on your iPad without having to buy a dedicated Kobo ereader. But if you are in the market for an ereader, definitely take a look at their selection. The devices are sleek, and they offer everything from the Mini to the Glo (a model that illuminates the text in the dark) to the Arc (a Kindle Fire competitor that delivers movies and music in addition to ebooks and articles).

Google. We all know Google as the search engine and most of us use their many, many other services, but have you ever looked at Google Play? If you don’t have an Android phone, the Google Play store might not even be on your radar. Google Play is primarily a digital-app distribution platform for Android phones, but through it Google also offers books, magazines, movies, and music. Google does not, however, sell a dedicated ereader, which could be a turn-off for some. But in place of that, the company offers its Nexus tablets, which support Google Play’s wide variety of apps and accessories.

Blio. Blio is, first and foremost, a free ereader software that can be downloaded onto Windows, iOS, and Android devices. It’s on our list of ebook retailers, though, because its ebook store and content is backed by book distributor Baker & Taylor, which has partnered with all major publishers to make their books available in the Blio store. The Blio pitch is “Don’t just read books. Experience them.” Its ereading software, from K-NFB Reading Technologies, gives readers an interesting platform for books with graphics and multimedia components. Blio makes it a point to keep books in their original format, so readers get to see exactly how the book is supposed to look, a very important feature for books in genres like cooking, crafting, traveling, and and children’s.

So, while we all hear nonstop about Kindles, Nooks, and iPads, let’s not forget that ebooks are available more widely than you think. If you’re an author, don’t forget these other retailers as you get your ebook out there for sale!

Bonus: Check out Lifehacker’s list of the five best ebook stores.