The debate is not about which device is better than the others. It’s about authors and publishers embracing a whole new world of opportunity.
Much has been written over the last 48 hours or so about Apple’s new iPad. Some think it’s the best thing to hit the planet this decade and that it will change the face of publishing. Others are moaning about its bezel and that it doesn’t have a camera. Some are obsessed with the connotations of the word “pad”. Some people should also get a life.
I thought I’d let the dust settle and look at the introduction of the iPad from the perspective of authors and publishers.
As a serial gadgeteer and technophile, even I resisted the temptation to buy an eReader. By the way, when I refer to the Kindle, I am using it generically like Hoover. This applies to the eReader, the Cool-er et al.
As an author, I don’t want an eReader; I want an e-writer too.
The iPad wins hands down on this front. The fact I can surf the Web for research too and Mind Map are other bonuses.
What about battery life and reading it in bright sunlight on a beach? Well I don’t want sand in any of my gadgets and to protect what little street-cred I may have; I’m more comfortable holding a paperback when I get to relax on holiday.
Apple brings more to the party than just screen technology. You get access to the riches borne by an operating system that is 30 years old. Email, word and image processing, calendaring to boot.
The iPad is a boon for a writer.
If all you want to do is read, however, as I predicted in this blog earlier in the year, then ereaders will go sub $100 on eBay this year and this is hard to resist.
With the fabulous e-ink technology, two weeks of battery life is just marvellous. So, if you are a reader and want to dabble in technology, get an ereader.
The biggest opportunity though lies in the user base.
For publishers and authors, the users of the various devices represent a new and growing sales channel.
There are something like 10 million iPhones already with predictions of a further 20 million more this year.
This compares to 2.5 million Kindles and a little less for Sony.
You can even get a Kindle reader for the iPhone which makes things even more complicated for us to get our head around. Will Kindle ever support iBooks though? I think not.
So the smart money is to get as many existing titles in as many formats as possible and to let the user decide how they want to consume the book.
For new titles however, there is a whole new world opening up. From books that can either read to you or be read, or books that contain multimedia elements, content, geo-coded information and merge elements of gaming. Travel books for example will be completely different and contain videos, reviews, local information, the ability to make bookings and the like – all from the app or as they will be known.
So the debate is not about which device is better than the others. It’s about authors and publishers embracing a whole new world of opportunity.
iPhone stats for 2010
Kindle vs Sony eReader stats
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