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Kindle or iPad: Which will change reading?

Rory Cellan-Jones | 13:29 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

Is the new Kindle the device that will finally make e-books mainstream, converting real book-lovers to reading in a digital format? The jury is still out on this one, but I think Amazon has a better chance of making this happen than Apple. And that's despite a little experiment I've conducted which suggests the opposite.

ereadingLast week, I was lent the latest Kindle by Amazon, with an invitation to try it out. It's smaller and cheaper than previous versions but built very much along the same lines - it aims to be just an e-book reader rather than an all-purpose entertainment gadget like the Apple iPad. Amazon's strategy is to appeal to people who simply want to read without any flashy extras, and I think it makes sense.

But I thought I already knew what I felt about the Kindle, having tried it out before, so I convened a small focus group - friends and relatives, from 19 to 50, all very keen readers yet not hostile to digital devices. I asked them each to look at the new device and tell me what they thought. And what was the first thing they all tried to do? You've got it: they touched it.

It seemed that everyone in the group had got used to a touchscreen interface, and assumed that this was how you would control any new gadget. Once I'd explained that you had to navigate via physical buttons, they quickly got the hang of it. But they still seemed very reluctant to consider it as a replacement for a real book. Here are a few typical comments:

"The screen size is too small - I have to keep turning the page every few seconds."
 
"It's very ugly - doesn't it come in pink?"
 
"I still prefer the look and feel of a book..."
 
"What happens if I want to lend a Kindle book to a friend when I've finished?"
 
"I wouldn't want to use one of these on the beach - what if it got wet or sandy?"

So, a fairly typical range of reactions from e-book sceptics. Yet this was a group happy and accustomed to reading news on a screen, scanning blog posts or watching video screens. What's more, my bibliophile friends seemed more attracted by the idea of a touchscreen device like the iPad, with the possibility it offers of a more interactive and multimedia reading experience.

But I'm going to ignore the findings of my focus group - and stick by my belief that Amazon's device has a better chance of transforming the publishing industry than Apple's.

Why? Because the numbers do not lie. Amazon has established its online store as the predominant electronic book retailer. We know about its recent figures showing that it is now selling more e-books than hardbacks, but I've now been pointed towards another piece of evidence that it's trouncing Apple in this market.

ereadingAn American thriller writer, Joe Konrath, writes an interesting blog for authors describing his own apparently successful transition to digital publishing. In a recent post he says that Amazon's platform is many times more important to him than Apple's new online book store: "I sell 200 ebooks a day on Kindle. On iPad, I sell 100 a month."

That's just one perspective - but Mr Konrath also makes the point that Kindle offers authors the chance to cut out the middleman and grab a far bigger percentage of their sales revenues than their publishers will offer. That is likely to give Amazon's platform ever more muscle in negotiating with publishers.

What's more, a quick comparison between Amazon's Kindle store and Apple's iBooks store appears to show that Amazon wins hands down on the price and availability of titles. And of course, there's a yawning gap in prices when you compare the hardware - the Kindle starts at £109, the iPad at £429.

So while my focus group was underwhelmed by the Kindle, I'm betting that price will prevail - and the UK's publishing industry needs to focus on Amazon, not Apple, as it contemplates its digital future.

Update, 15:11: As a number of people have pointed out, books purchased from the Kindle store do not have to be read on a Kindle - they can also be read on an iPad, an iPhone or a PC. Which makes it even more likely that Amazon, not Apple, will be the major force in the publishing industry.

I should also have said that Amazon's ambitions for the Kindle are different from Apple's for the iPad. Amazon will hope to make its money from the software - sales from the Kindle store - rather than the device, while Apple is definitely making huge margins on the sale of its hardware, so profits from iBooks will be less important.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    There is a Kindle app for the iPhone/iPad how many of the books sold for Kindle are being read on the iPad? I have not used a kindle but I have read kindle books on my kindle app for the iPhone.

  • Comment number 2.

    I bought the Sony eReader when it first came out in the UK. I travel a fair bit and reader voraciously so it was useful in that I didn't need to carry a small library around with me! It also meant (at least in theory) that I could get rid of the pile of read books that quickly grew in the hall until I stuffed them in a bag and took them to a charity shop (or gave them to friends).

    However, I've all but stopped using it now for two reasons (1) many of the authors that I read regularly didn't have e-versions of their books available, and (2) for those that did there was no cost benefit to switching to the e-version.

    When the latest Kindle announcement was made, and the UK Amazon eBook store became available, the first thing I did was check to see if my favourite authors' most recent books were available. They weren't. So until every book (or at least every new book) can be purchased for an eReader, and is priced at a point that reflects the reduced production and distribution costs I doubt I'll be leaving my real books behind.

  • Comment number 3.

    I think the Kindle and other devices like it will gradually change the publishing industry. But the iPad will rapidly transform the personal computing industry, just as the iPhone transformed the mobile phone industry, arguably a greater achievement.

  • Comment number 4.

    I think GwentNews has an interesting point - I too read Kindle books on my iPad. Amazon clearly have a better range of books than Apple, and they have the advantage that they can also be read using the Kindle app on iPhone, PC or Mac. I'm happy with my iPad since it gives me more versatility than a Kindle would, but I really want Amazon to be successful in maintaining a wide range of books.

  • Comment number 5.

    The guardian did a survey and found that kindle prices were almost always lower than Apple's own store. But as GwentNews says, some of the Kindle readers may be doing so on other platforms.

  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with GwentNews. The article seems to jump from the Kindle hardware to the Kindle store which is available on multiple devices now.

    If your feeling is the device is going to transform the industry then a break down of sales by device may be required. I think the Amazon Kindle store is the transforming factor here due to its availability on multiple platforms.

  • Comment number 7.

    For amazon it's all about the platform. They couldn't give a monkeys if people are reading ebooks on the Kindle, iPad or Sony Reader so long as they buy those books from the kindle store. The kindle is just a way to get more people reading ebooks and buying from their store not a long term revenue generating business in itself. The kindle store will become iTunes for books.

  • Comment number 8.

    I'm not very interested in walled gardens put up by giant corporations trying to corner a market. Not in the case of Apple. Not in the case of Amazon. And I'm not interested in the 'concept' that you don't in fact buy an ebook, you are just buying the right to read it. Wasn't it Amazon who disappeared the ebook of '1984' from all its e-book purchasers.

    Nope. What might change the game is a reader, that looks and feels pretty much like a book, costs about £9.95, is open (and simple) architecture/operating system.... and when you've bought the ebook , its yours, not the property of some megalith corporation.

    The day some of these people assimilate all of this, then they might have a success on their hands rather than the rather pathetic gestures of handing out free readers to journalists to do their advertising for them .

  • Comment number 9.

    Well I have to say that I too have an iPad and the Kindle app and have more books purchased for it than iBooks - I also use the Kindle application on my Apple laptop. I do not own a Kindle e-reader.

    So unfortunately, you can't say that the Kindle device is transforming the publishing industry rather than Apple...or any other device. What I think this does show is the general public's adoption of new ways to purchase traditional items such as books.

    I would be interested to see how the sales figures of devices and ebooks relate to one another.

  • Comment number 10.

    For what it's worth, there is a Kindle for Android too.

  • Comment number 11.

    I've been reading "ebooks" on my PocketPC PDA for years now. They have to be in plain text or PDF format, so it's not compatible with Kindle books etc.
    However, my PDA (which is 6 years old - ancient in technology terms) has a touch screen which lets me move to the next page.
    I'm really surprised that the Kindle still doesn't have a touch screen. I was considering buying one until I read that.

  • Comment number 12.

    At the end of the day I think it is all about price. I think this type of device needs to be sub £40 or £50. They would allow you to surf the internet and provide access to the family calendar as well as read eBooks. You would have a few scattered around the house for family members to pick up as and when required.

  • Comment number 13.

    Some books I prefer electronically, some in physical form - mainly reference books in physical. As good as mapping is on the web and SatNavs I much prefer physical maps to plan travel - you just can't see a large enough area on a screen

  • Comment number 14.

    I tend to agree with Andrew P above, but also suspect that perhaps the traditional approach to books and reading misses the point of what an e-reader does a bit.

    Despite initial misgivings, I bought a Sony 600 eReader a short while ago for a holiday. I churn books on the beach, and it seemed and excellent way to cut down on luggage etc - in fact everything Nick P said above. Thing is, there are actually many hundreds of thousands of eBooks out there now - new and old. I found the newest Stephen King, just out in paperback for £2.60 on WHSmith's site - and if that isn't a cost saving, I don't know what is.

    The fact is that this will not kill the traditional print industry at all, but it will cut down sales. There are plenty of books that I want to read, but don't want to have on a shelf forever, and that's what this is for - the chewing-gum stuff that you enjoy when you're on hols.

    Again, I don't think the Kindle will necessarily be the game changer here either. It's still too expensive, and has a closed platform when it comes to eBook types that it can read. Without ePub reading capability, I don't think it can ever go far...

    This said, with the Amazon store now providing books that can be read on my Sony, well now I'll make sure that I check Amazon for price and availability when I'm doing my shopping. It's a fairly straight-forward matter of choice for me.

  • Comment number 15.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 16.

    I get through about three paperbacks a month at present and this is because my life is pretty busy at the moment. A few years ago I could have easily got through nearer to five in a month and I'm an IT professional who uses technical books as well so I might be the kind of person Amazon are trying to target here.

    I have used the iPad and Kindle for leisure reading (using different friends hardware) and to be honest I'm just not interested. My friends are really casual readers (perhaps getting through one book a month) and it seems that the idea of using a bit of tech adds to the appeal for them and gets them reading more than they would normally. I think that's great but for me the e-book is a bit like the Audiobook. I can see the obvious advantages for some people but it's really no substitute for a physical book. I don't see a big enough advantage in cost and I don't like the idea of the book being tethered to a specific device in someway.

    From a technical point of view I think moving from a technical programming book on my desk to an e-book on an iPad just seems a non-starter. I need to leaf through quickly, make notes and have the book available whenever I need it. I don't feel that a technical e-reader can offer the 100% availability of a traditional book.

    Seems like a waste of cash to me.

  • Comment number 17.

    Two things that are still stopping me:

    1) Colour
    2) The way it refreshes - too slow and distracting.

    I'm sure over the next decade, along with the "bendable e-paper" tech we've seen, we will see it come into fruition - and over the next century it will gradually replace paper.

  • Comment number 18.

    Even if I were able to afford an iPad, I'd choose the Kindle for simple health reasons. The backlit screen is great for graphics/watching films etc. but it will put quite a strain on your eyes while reading, unlike Kindle's electronic ink.
    I still love physical books too much, not the least because they don't have DRM. The advantage of e-readers is that you can take a holiday's worth of books in a device that's about the same format but only a tenth the thickness as one conventional book.

  • Comment number 19.

    Amazon and Kindle should be boycotted and here is why:

    http://techrights.org/2010/02/23/boycott-amazon/

  • Comment number 20.

    Just trying out both iBooks and Kindle readers on the iPhone. Earlier readers prompted me to wait.

    I much prefer the iBooks interface to the Kindle one (note, on iPhone it's a touch interface) but much prefer the prices of the Kindle ebooks.

    I'd read more ebooks using iBooks if the prices were lower. Not as sure about Kindle.

  • Comment number 21.

    Don't get me wrong I love real books. Nothing can displace the pleasure of the giant coffee table book or treasured hardback. Displacing the battered and stained paperweight/back I lug to work for three month's on the tube is another story.

    To me the pluses of the e-reader are portability (limitless books in a tiny form factor), instant purchasing, permanent access over multiple devices, and free classic titles. The aspect ratio of tablet, phone and Kindle plus the screen real estate make reading the written word on a screen natural and practical. I can see the pluses of the real Kindle (price and ink screen) and one might reach the family in time for Christmas.

    At present the proprietary stores are troublesome, as is the lack of choice and pricing. I'd love to read Kindle titles in the iBooks app for example. The real item is universal, fundamentally foolproof as well as being easy to buy and share - try explaining DRM's and storefronts to punters and parents...

    The iBooks app is my preferred reader, my phone or iPad is always with me, it measures the book in pages (and remaining pages in chapter) and fiddling with the page corner, notes and dictionary are aesthetically pleasing. However the store is limited and the pricing is high. Kobo is improving, but the readers lack parity of formats. Not all titles play across desktop, phone and tablet.

    The winner so far for me is Kindle. You can find bargains if you're lucky and although the apps (not the device ) are technically merely competent and the page measurement (in percentages and location) will always irk, it does the job. I can buy titles on impulse and always have something decent to read even in my pocket.

    As a result my commute has seen me tearing through titles at a rate of knots.

    I'm even tempted to buy an actual Kindle for my family - who baulked at the iPad's size. Then with a little chicanery I might have someone to share titles with.

    So e-reading isn't perfect but neither is it the chore some make it out to be.

  • Comment number 22.

    Amazon e-books can be read on devices other than the Kindle but then you lose the benefit of the non-backlit display. Given that many users find backlit screens difficult to read on after a period of time, the benefit of being able to read Amazon e-books on multiple devices is not as great as it seems.

  • Comment number 23.

    Amazon and Apple have 2 directly opposite strategies for their eBook readers. Amazon is trying to push a mass market and cheap ebook reader device, while Apple is 'milking the cow' so to speak by releasing a severely limited in functionality version of the Apple iPad (no multitasking!) and then will release another version that adds such essential features, but still lacks one or two others - only when the competition steps up a gear will Apple then take the step of releasing a new iPad version which will likely be more mature and have enough features to make it worth buying (like the current iPhone 4).

  • Comment number 24.

    I'm working in China so getting books in English is expensive so why not try Kindle for Mac application? WRONG! Imagine my horror when I tried ......... We're sorry. Kindle for Mac is not currently available in China.
    So I have to wait 'til I return to the UK before I can download and start reaping the benefits of e-books. Does anyone understand why there's any embargo on e-books in China?

  • Comment number 25.

    Amazon make all these announcements about being able to download a book from anywhere in the world. I just tried to download a couple to my Kindle and got told they were available to UK customers only.

    I guess I'll just have to wait for the real books to arrive

    Dave (In Chicago)

  • Comment number 26.

    I just don't see the benefit. Having 5,000 songs on my phone is quite useful, but thousands of books? Then there's the classic 'lend to a friend' problem, although that hasn't put me off audiobooks (and yes, I dropped my iPhone in the sand while listening to one on the beach).

    So while paperbacks are plentiful and cheap, I can't see myself switching to an electronic version.

  • Comment number 27.

    RedLinuxHacker - using extremely biased and patently misleading references does not help your cause, in fact it worsens it as it makes people think that you have something to worry about. If you were that worried about companies trying to outdo each other for business you would boycott every company in existence.
    To get back to the article. For me the issue is size and availability. I don't need colour - most paperbacks aren't in colour. I don't need a touch screen - mostly all I want to do is turn a page rather than click pretty rendered buttons on a screen. What I don't want from an eReader is something that is larger than a paperback - the iPad is twice the size of an A format paperback whereas the Kindle is only slightly larger and smaller than a B format paperback (and it's thinner than the iPad). Unfortunately the Kindle is still only available on pre-order so I guess I'll have to wait.

  • Comment number 28.

    I'm sure there are more e-books being sold than hardbacks, but I'm fairly sure that is more to do with the price difference between them than that people actually prefer e-books.

    Which is a good example of some of the backwards logic that ends up being applied to these situations.

  • Comment number 29.

    24. At 8:58pm on 23 Aug 2010, frankrkwright wrote:
    Does anyone understand why there's any embargo on e-books in China?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------


    Basically the same reason Amazon pays Microsoft for Linux, just coming from a different angle. Enforced dominance.

    It does raise an interesting side issue though, as books have been both the cornerstone and leading edge of freedom and liberty over the years. "E-books" are much easier to control and suppress in a way you cannot do with physical objects like books (the whole point of DRM, for example, is to control and suppress), other than burning them (and China is proving very, very good at "e-censorship" and information control).

  • Comment number 30.

    Rory Cellan-Jones wrote:

    "all-purpose entertainment gadget like the Apple iPad. Amazon's strategy is to appeal to people who simply want to read without any flashy extras, and I think it makes sense."

    So because the iPad does more things than the Kindle that somehow makes it a gadget as opposed to the Kindle?

    "But I'm going to ignore the findings of my focus group - and stick by my belief that Amazon's device has a better chance of transforming the publishing industry than Apple's."

    Logically, why would you "ignore" your findings? If a touch interface is what they want then that is what they want.

    The "publishing industry" isn't just about simple text in a paperback, it is also about full color graphics, whether in books or in magazines. You want to see the future of magazines? Then download the Zinio app for the iPad and preview magazines likes National Geographic or Dwell. Or even much better download the Popular Mechanics Interactive edition app which is a preview of what is to come in a monthly edition starting in the fall. Everyone I have showed it to is simply amazed.

    "In a recent post he says that Amazon's platform is many times more important to him than Apple's new online book store: "I sell 200 ebooks a day on Kindle. On iPad, I sell 100 a month."

    The Kindle has also been on sale much longer than the iPad.

    "but Mr Konrath also makes the point that Kindle offers authors the chance to cut out the middleman and grab a far bigger percentage of their sales revenues than their publishers will offer. That is likely to give Amazon's platform ever more muscle in negotiating with publishers."

    Are Apple, Barnes and Noble and Borders prevented from doing the same?

    "So while my focus group was underwhelmed by the Kindle, I'm betting that price will prevail - and the UK's publishing industry needs to focus on Amazon, not Apple, as it contemplates its digital future."

    That would be poor advice. A sane publishing company would seek to gets its products on every device and medium out there. And if they are in the magazine business then the Kindle is not even capable of giving a competitive experience.

    "What's more, a quick comparison between Amazon's Kindle store and Apple's iBooks store appears to show that Amazon wins hands down on the price and availability of titles."

    Once again, the Kindle and its store has been around much longer than the iPad.

    "And of course, there's a yawning gap in prices when you compare the hardware - the Kindle starts at £109, the iPad at £429."

    Why the "yawning?" You are obviously getting much more than a book reader with the iPad.

    "Update, 15:11: As a number of people have pointed out, books purchased from the Kindle store do not have to be read on a Kindle - they can also be read on an iPad, an iPhone or a PC. Which makes it even more likely that Amazon, not Apple, will be the major force in the publishing industry."

    Apple will likely follow the same path as it did with iTunes and its music by allowing the books it sells onto any device. That same model obviously hasn't hurt Apple's iTunes sales. iBooks is also available for the iPhone and iPod touch.

    "I should also have said that Amazon's ambitions for the Kindle are different from Apple's for the iPad. Amazon will hope to make its money from the software - sales from the Kindle store - rather than the device, while Apple is definitely making huge margins on the sale of its hardware, so profits from iBooks will be less important."

    As with iTunes and its music sales Apple is obviously interested in and quite capable of succeeding at selling the hardware and the "software," in that case music, so there's no reason to dismiss their potential to do the same with books, and magazines.

  • Comment number 31.

    frankrkwright wrote:

    "So I have to wait 'til I return to the UK before I can download and start reaping the benefits of e-books. Does anyone understand why there's any embargo on e-books in China?"

    Have you considered the country you are in?

  • Comment number 32.

    Andrew Preston wrote:

    "I'm not very interested in walled gardens put up by giant corporations trying to corner a market. Not in the case of Apple. Not in the case of Amazon. And I'm not interested in the 'concept' that you don't in fact buy an ebook, you are just buying the right to read it. Wasn't it Amazon who disappeared the ebook of '1984' from all its e-book purchasers.

    Nope. What might change the game is a reader, that looks and feels pretty much like a book, costs about £9.95, is open (and simple) architecture/operating system.... and when you've bought the ebook , its yours, not the property of some megalith corporation."
    _________________________________________________________________________

    It's not Apple's or Amazon's fault. Your beef is with the publishing industry. The same situation as when music files were drm protected. It's simply what the copyright owners are willing to agree to.

  • Comment number 33.

    Thanks for the article, Rory.

    Different products can exist serving the needs of different markets, but there comes a point when a market gets too small for a product to survive.

    You say that "Amazon's strategy is to appeal to people who simply want to read without any flashy extras, and I think it makes sense."

    I am sure such a market exists, but is it a big enough market to sustain a mono-functioning device? I doubt that it is.

    The Kindle starts at £109 and can only do one thing. The iPad at starts at £429 but can do an almost infinite number of things . . . limited only by the number of apps available.

    At the very least is can be used for books, music, internet, email, video, maps, word processing, number crunching, presentations, managing contacts, etc. When the new models come out with cameras, iPads will also be able to make FaceTime calls and take photos.

    I've listed 10 main things the iPad can do, before getting into the apps. That's £42.90 for each thing the device is able to do.

    The Kindle is stuck at £109 for one thing.

    The headline price of the iPad is greater than the price of the Kindle, but in reality it is a much cheaper purchase for those people who want to do more than just read books.

    The iPad is also an object of desire: it looks beautiful and people enjoy using it. The Kindle looks dull and dreary. On one level, talking about looks is facile, but in the end they do matter to many users.

    If the Kindle was a mono-function device costing £30 it would have a reasonable future. But at it's current price point, it just doesn't have enough to offer for the majority of people who aren't bookworms.

    The Kindle app is good - working across devices.

    I can see the Kindle app surviving and Amazon doing well on book sales, but it is hard to justify the expense of a standalone Kindle itself.

  • Comment number 34.

    The e-reader has one main advantage for me, in that you can read them in bright sunlight, which is difficult if not impossible on an i-pad or similar tablet pc. When a tablet pc that can also display using e-ink, becomes available (not techy enough to know if this will be possible), that will probably become my device of choice.
    In general, both types of device have one major problem for me, in that it is difficult to share e-books in the way that you can with physical books. Nothing illegal here, I read a book, then pass it on to my wife, the way people have always done with books. I'm not sure how easy / legal this is with e-books, and so any book that we are both likely to read, will still be bought the old fashioned way.

  • Comment number 35.

    Ereaders are great, been using one for years now, and I use the ipad kindle app which is also great indoors, sony reader for outdoors. reason I like them is that they save paper, i am not a paper book fetishist, i.e. I love the smell of a book etc, those kind of reasons for not trying a reader are pretty pathetic. Also the reasons given by the supposed tea party in this article for not liking the kindle read like a bunch of stock answers used in articles such as this in the past, I have read every single one of them before.

    Simple answers:

    "The screen size is too small - I have to keep turning the page every few seconds."
    Rubbish. A six inch screen size is fine, and you dont turn the page, you push a button and it changes instantly.

    "It's very ugly - doesn't it come in pink?"
    Ok, so you prefer the look and feel of a proper book, but you would prefer a kindle in pink?!? The idea of it is to make it simple and easy on the eyes.

    "I still prefer the look and feel of a book..."
    So do I, especially one that is soft, strong and thouroughly absorbent

    "What happens if I want to lend a Kindle book to a friend when I've finished?"
    Technically you should not be lending books to friends anyway, that is copyright theft, same as lending a video, cd etc, so this argument kinda cancels itself. Your friend should go and buy it for themselves or rent it from a library.

    "I wouldn't want to use one of these on the beach - what if it got wet or sandy?"
    I think what you mean is you wouldnt want to use it while swimming, as there is little chance of it getting wet unless you are actually in the water. I have used my sony reader poolside many times without a problem, plus you can get a cover to protect it. No problems, and no argument.

    I think the real resistance to ereaders is actually coming from the publishing companies themselves. They are setting prices high to keep the ereader market small because the simple fact of the matter is that ereaders will put a large sector of the publishing market out of a job. Lets face it, knocking only a pound or dollar off of an ereader version is ludicrous; there are no materials, no transport costs, no retailer costs, everything can be sold purely electronically. The only publishing costs are in proof reading and setting out, and I am quite sure that with todays desktop publishing technology, even those people truthfully are no longer needed. The reasoning behind resisting change is not however a reason to resist progress, what publishers need to do is adapt to and embrace change, because at the end of the day it is going to come whether they want it to or not, and if they continue to resist, they will regret it. I can foresee a world without publishers, record labels, holywood etc where people create and produce their own material without money grabbing middlemen to hoover up all the profit, and sales are all made privately on line.

  • Comment number 36.

    Laurence @ 27

    Don't try and patronise me about how the business world works. What I object to is the patent trolls that are the scourge of the IT industry. But what I really object to is Microsoft extracting 'protection money' from Amazon for using Linux which is freely available as its writer intended. By buying Kindle, the customer is prolonging this immoral practice.

  • Comment number 37.

    I'm an early adopter and use the iPad almost every day to watch a training video or read PDF's with an app called PDFComprade or iBooks.

    Strangely enough I never read "Winnie the Pooh" as a child or adult, until I got it for free with the iPad iBooks. (I'm much enlightened now to the ways of Mr Pooh bear...)

    I personally also know people developing content and most are concentrating on the iPad, because Apple has the distribution method nailed, and keeps the Credit Cards on file.

  • Comment number 38.

    I don't think it is about price, or the availability of media,for me it is quite simple. It must look more like a book. In technological terms this means means it must have 2 screens.
    You should be able to move forwards by stroking your finger laterally across the page in a left direction. I don't think any device will make it into mass production until it looks more like and behaves more like a replacement for the humble paperback.

  • Comment number 39.

    @RedLinuxHacker: So despite you not being party to the deal between the two companies, you have decided that it's not because Amazon want to use some of Microsoft's patented technologies (as reported), but because amazon want to pay to use Linux? That doesn't really ring true now does it. Many companies have licensing deals with Microsoft - including Apple, LG, and Samsung - perhaps they all want to pay Microsoft so that they can use their own operating systems? Perhaps you should avoid all of those too?

  • Comment number 40.

    Electronic books do make a lot of sense to a specific market - namely those who need very large reference books as part of their job, or for ongoing training: Lawyers, Architects and Computer programming professionals, for instance. There is nothing visually appealing about the real book being replaced, in these instances - and the sheer volume of books, purchased by this market, can be very high indeed. The ephemeral nature of the media is no disadvantage, either, since it reflects the short-term relevance of the words within.

  • Comment number 41.

    Well Kindle will change reading because it is a dedicated e-reader. The ipad is a gadget and if the latest studies have proved, most people use their ipads for surfing, games, application and everything else apart from e-reading. If i was in the market for such a device, i would go for the Kindle. I am not into e-readers and i am a love the feel of hard and soft backs. Besides where else can you get thousands ££££ for a first edition of Ian Flemings Casino Royale? not on an e-reader for sure...lol. i am also an opportunist book investor as well and;)

  • Comment number 42.

    @Laurence: Amazon is a Linux user, so which of Microsoft's patented technologies is it paying to use? We don't know because the deal doesn't disclose this information. However, it is disclosed that Amazon's Kindle and Amazon's servers are 'covered', both of which use Linux. Microsoft claims that Linux infringes on it's patented technologies, but it won't say which.

    So, it appears that Amazon is paying Microsoft for patented technologies that Microsoft claims, but won't reveal which, are used in Linux. I haven't decided unilaterally, as you imply, that this sounds like a dodgy deal, there are plenty of reports on the internet that have come to the same conclusion.

    Now, until Microsoft proves which patented technolgies Linux is infringing on then Linux remains free and open-source. So, I am not going to buy a Kindle, only for Amazon to pay Microsoft for me to use Linux while Linux is free and open-source. That's my choice and only felt it was fair to let others know that by buying Amazon's Kindle that they are needlessly lining Microsoft's pockets for a software product over which they have no jurisdiction and is essentially free to use.

  • Comment number 43.

    Having read 7 books in the first week after Christmas I love the Kindle. Here's a couple of advantages of the Kindle over the printed word: you don't have to turn pages when lying sideways in bed, and free wireless internet FOREVER (or at least until the sun burns up or Amazon disappears).

 

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