Borders is getting into digital books in a big way. Today the company announced that it would start selling the Kobo eReader for $149.99. Pre-orders start today, but the electronic book reader won’t be available until June 17th. But the bigger news is that Borders is launching apps that will let you read eBooks on smartphones and computers. You’ll also be able to download eBooks from the Borders store and read them on other eBook readers such as the Sony Reader.
There aren’t a lot of details about the new apps, but Borders does promise to offer the apps as free downloads for Mac, PC, BlackBerry, Android, iPhone, and iPad.
While the eBook readers are free, Borders will follow Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, and other companies into the eBook realm by offering a million eBooks for download. While I’m guessing there are a fair number of free, public domain works in that number, you’ll also be able to purchase eBooks from the Borders store.
I’m all for choice, and think it’s great that you’ll soon be able to comparison shop between the Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Apple eBook stores on your mobile device. I just wish there was a way to do that without having to launch 4 separate eBook apps to read your books. Because each book you download will be tied the store from which you purchased it. And that means you’ll have to remember if the book you wanted to read came from Amazon or Borders before you can fire up the appropriate app.