Amazon’s vast collection of electronic books, hitherto readable only on its Kindle device, is now available for the Apple iPhone and iPod touch. The greatest innovation appears to be the ability to read the same book both on the Kindle reading device and the iPhone.
The Kindle remains the optimal device to read an electronic book. But now, thanks to the free Kindle application available for the iPhone and software called Whispersync, one can read such documents on the iPhone. The idea is that one can read a book, say this author’s Children of Apollo, at home on one’s Kindle Device. Then one has to make a quick trip to the grocery store or the hardware store and, finding oneself in a long line, will then pass the time by picking up where he left off and read the same book on ones iPhone or, eventually, any other hand held device.
Washington Post writer Stacy Kramer describes the experience:
“It took me less than 2 minutes to get to the iPhone app store, search for Kindle, find Kindle on iPhone and get it started. (The slowest step is having to log in manually to iTunes to download an app.) In less than five minutes, I was signed in to my Amazon account and had access to the dozens of books in my archive. I quickly retrieved Appetite for Self-Destruction by Steve Knoepper from the archive and it opened where I left it. The text is clear but you can’t use multi-touch to zoom; instead, just as on the Kindle device, you select from a series of type sizes and it changes. I can go back to the cover and table of contents of that book; if I pick, “furthest point read” it pinpoints my location and tells me which device I was using and what time and date it was when I last dipped in. What I can’t do is access the things I might most want to read in short bursts: my subscriptions to newspapers, magazines and blogs all limited to one Kindle. And so far, no Speech-to-Text so at least Roy Blount, Jr. should be happy.”
Amazon was hitherto thought to be pursuing the Apple model for marketing its electronic books, restricting them to a must have device, in this case the Kindle. Now it looks like Amazon is instead pursuing the Microsoft model of allowing its electronic books to be downloaded and read on a variety of devices. The iPhone and touch iPod are just the beginning. Shortly Amazon electronic books will be available on a whole variety of hand held devices and smart phones.
Amazon will sell as many electronic books as possible, collect royalties on them, and build up a loyal customer base which will be motivated to buy other products through Amazon. The marketing model certainly worked for Microsoft and made its President Bill Gates the richest man in the world.
Amazon, which is actually thriving in the current economic downturn, may well have hit upon the marketing scheme to make electronic books as ubiquitous as downloadable music and video games.
Source: Amazon to Sell E-Books for Apple Devices, Brad Stone, New York Times, March 4th, 2009
mocoNews – First Look: Amazon Launches Kindle iPhone App, Staci D. Kramer, Washington Post, March 4th, 2009