Why Amazon's Kindle Will Eventually Win the e-Book Wars

165 thoughts on “Why Amazon's Kindle Will Eventually Win the e-Book Wars”

  1. Om,

    I think you are assuming that there is a large overlap between the iPad and Kindle device clientele. I am not sure if you are basing this on data already available, but why can’t there be a market for just a book, no apps, no iTunes, no browsers, nothing else. Just a book.

    Isn’t this simple device the one that most non-tech artsy users would want? Curling up in a corner with a book to me should not involve all tech heavy features including emails, chat, apps, and the like. This is what Amazon is targeting. Its roots, of being a book seller.

    B&N is waging a losing battle on eBook readers. It would have done better to license this to Sony and thought of book carts in railway stations, downtowns much like Higginbothams in India did.

  2. Yep. This is kinda what I was saying in February. It has come to pass that I lost my Kindle on an airplane somewhere, but I still have all of my Amazon stuff. I can read it on my Mac, on my PC, on my iPhone. The Amazon Store makes all the difference and now that I know that it goes on the iPad, I have yet another reason to stick with Amazon – which I always wanted to do.

    You’re right that it makes sense to make the Kindle reader smarter and take advantage of different hardware. But does it have color anywhere? It’s not a showstopper, but..

    Question. Recall the mysteries surrounding Apple’s new extended multimedia format for the iTunes Store? Was that nothing else but iBooks? Wasn’t there supposed to be something for liner notes and other extra content for music albums? Whatever happened to all that?

  3. Just like the book market supports high-end hard back books and lower end paperback books, I think the ereader market could probably support 2 ereader devices. The high-end, almost a computer iPad style and the low-end book only ereader.

    For that to happen the Kindle needs to hit $99. Might do that by christmas.

  4. Is the Kindle device really dead/dying? I’ve got both devices I like the Kindle’s lighter weight, screen contrast in direct sunlight & longer battery life for reading books. I’ve actually found the iPad difficult to read one-handed in bed or on a red-eye flight.

    Thus does the Kindle really need to match the iPad in capability or simply be an excellent eReader (to Ram’s point)? Should they be compared apples to apples – pun somewhat-intended.

    Now if Amazon were to do away with the proprietary power/usb cable… better yet use the ipad/ipod cable.

    1. You have the power/usb cable comment backwards. Apple uses a proprietary connector. The Kindle 2 and Kindle DX use the industry standard micro-usb connector – you’ll find this same connector on many different brands of phones (e.g., BlackBerry, Motorola Droid, HTC Incredible, etc.) and they can all interchange cables/chargers with each other.

      1. But why continue changing USB connectors at all? This creates problems when it has to be packed for traveling. It works out better when one cable can be left in the car, one in the luggage, one in the computer at home, etc.

      2. Don, micro USB has become standard. I doubt Amazon will change again.

        My wife’s phone that we just got last month uses the same cable that my phone came with 2 years ago. Different brand phones.

        Apple is the company that continues to use proprietary connectors.

      3. The USB connector on the Kindle might be standard the problem is that the convertor isn’t. It supplies a higher than normal current (whilst geeky, I’m not geeky enough o remember what but it is well documented). Consequently, a PC or Mac will only trickle charge it, to get the full flavour behaviour, you have to use the Amazon charger. This is like the set up with the iPad charger as well. Of course neither the Amazon or iPad chargers tpdo the others job.

        USB for me has always been baffling in it’s ubiquity of ports and plethora of electrical implementations? I distinctly remember having had task specific Motorola, Blackberry and Apple chargers. And now Amazon too!!!

    2. I also think that it is premature to think the Kindle as a device is dead. The two devices serve different, overlapping market segments – with some users owning and using both devices. The better user experience on the iPad – as Om mentions in his post – cannot by itself compete with all the other factors which heavily favor the Kindle – price, weight, e-ink etc. all being important. In fact, I had made a list of the top 10 reasons why the iPad will not kill the Kindle back in Jan, most of which I think are still valid – http://bit.ly/amsjC3

      There is still a huge market of serious book readers who want a cheap, light, portable device that delivers text on a screen, and don’t really care about other reading email or surfing the internet while reading. This is Kindle’s market segment.

      The iPad, on the other hand, is shaping up to be the ultimate media consumption device. It has the potential to change reading by changing books themselves – into multimedia, interactive experiences – like the Vook does.

  5. Excellent article. I totally agree with these points. The Kindle vs Nook comparison based on hardware is not really the thing that matters most. In the end, consumers will come to appreciate the advantage of having their content accessible on multiple devices, easily, quickly, and cheaply. Amazon wins on that front. It’s so much about the software that even Ray Kurzweil is focusing on Blio, a new eReader software platform. You’re not gonna scare Amazon with a price cut. They have plenty of capacity to handle it. By lowering their device to $10 below the Nook, that was the message, loud and clear. And yes, Amazon do have the mindshare advantage of being known as the place to get books online, quickly and easily. More on these thoughts on my blog post: Wow. This is incredible. Both devices are now pretty damn affordable. It was about to become obvious what the best choice would be a few hours ago, but now it’s not so clear. Amazon Kindle is a great product with a huge selection. And now its $10 cheaper than the comparable Nook. But then again, the $149 wifi version of Nook has just been released! It’s a great time to be an ereader fan, I must admit : ) Can’t wait to see how low eReaders will go. Thanks for the post! You can hear more of my reaction at my blog: http://ebookreader-ben.com/let-the-ebook-reader-price-wars-begin/

    1. Actually, you CAN access B&N content on multiple devices easily, quickly and cheaply. You use their app the same as you’d use the Kindle app on your PC, smartphone or tablet. They all sync with page furthest read, downloads, subscription deliveries, etc.

  6. I’d beg to differ. Between the iPad and the Kindle, I still prefer my Kindle as it is way lighter, much better battery life and I can actually read it under the sun, at the beach!

    Given all that, the Kindle and the iPad are targetted at different consumer groups. The Kindle’s target is solely book readers, readers who do not want to be distracted with other fancy frills like games, and the internet. I already have plenty of other devices for such frills, why do I need it in my book reader as well? The iPad, however, is for mass market consumption, for people who read one or two books each month. Coming from someone who reads daily, the iPad is not going to cut it. The common masses is buying the idea of the iPad as a book reader because Jobs says so. The main function of an iPad is not a book reader, its a media consumption device.

    Both of them play very different roles, despite Jobs’ argument of putting the Kindle behind the iPad. Ultimately, there will be people like me who will take the Kindle over the iPad anytime, anywhere.

    1. Isn’t the kindle reader software changing to put games on it as well? I thought I remembered seeing that mentioned lately. So, even Amazon, who makes the kindle seems to disagree with your assessment of who uses this device.

      1. Kindle now has apps. People may write games for it, but the device is unsuitable for games unless you are talking about a crossword or sudoku.

        Amazon does not disagree with @na – They just put up an app store because everybody seems to be doing that.

        Ultimately @na is right. There is a niche for which the kindle still rules. Mainstream people however might end up with the iPad.

  7. Nice point but what you are missing is the facts. Amazon takes a huge cut of the slice from publishers or independent authors though they are planning on going the apple way and charge only 30% or so instead of 70% or so.

    And then, the iPad is a greater device with more power than just a black and white slate. I am sure some other integrations into the iBook store can start taking place. For instance, the iPad can even play video using the html5 technology within books.

    1. Actually Amazon paid more money to publishers before Apple helped bring about the Agency Model which charges consumers more and pays the publishers less.

    1. Yes, that makes total sense, because, you know, the backlight from an LCD-Screen emits fundamentally different light then your bedside lamp, which you would have to use to read on a Kindle / any kind of eInk / traditional book.

      And for the thesis of “shooting light direktly into your eye” I can only say: what?!

      1. There is a difference. Reflected or ambient light is very different in several respects than LED light. There’s even a pretty big difference depending on what kind of light bulb you use. I stopped using CFLs in the bedroom for this reason.

  8. There are those of us who simply prefer the e-Ink screen with easy to read text, long battery life and the ability to read it in direct sunlight.

    The iPad is a device that happens to be able to display books, among a bunch of other things – a jack of all trades and a master of none. The Kindle is a device meant to replace books altogether – it does one thing and does it well. As a book lover and book reader, I’d rather spend my time and money on something that’s really, really good at being a book.

    In short, Amazon doesn’t need to do anything. People who want to read Kindle books on an iPad can, just as you say. And they have the Kindle hardware available for book lovers. As long as Amazon keeps their focus on making the Kindle a better device for reading books, they’ll be fine.

    1. I would agree with you 100% if the Kindle had a touch screen. The fact of the matter is that it can be improved and it’s appeal as a bargain device will be short lived. Just because the iPad is a relative luxury brand doesn’t mean people only purchase it for brain-dead media. Amazon does have to update their interface technology. Given their superior content and storefront, there’s no excuse for them to sell second-rate hardware.

      1. I disagree. I don’t want a touch screen for reading. All I want to do is read — the Kindle and to a lesser extent the Nook are brilliant single-taskers. Just like a book.

      2. With Mikey here. You’re in bed, or wherever, reading a book. It’s already held comfortably in your hands. Isn’t clicking a button at your thumb or forefinger to flip the page a superior experience? The whiz-bang of touchscreen comes at the cost of consideration of ergonomics and convenience. The fake “page flip” is the worst UI experience Apple could have imagined, but people eat it up.

        The button provides a BENEFIT over flipping a real paper page. Why would you want to emulate one of the pains in the butt about reading a paper book? Use technology to advantage.

  9. OM…

    Here is where you miss the point and many others in the ebook battle press… One of which is of the utmost importance.

    You… Om.. someone that has recently had a heartattack should be most aware of.

    Reading for extended periods on an ipad (or similar device) in bed prior to going to bed has a significant effect on melatonin production and other key neurotransmitters and biochemistry…. drastically impacting the the immune system and your ability to have restorative sleep.

    There is a huge difference between reading a regular book which reflects low ambient light into the eyes compared to direct observation of an intensely illuminated surface… bottom line .. this trend will lead to a broad epidemic of auto immune disorder in the coming years…

    also as most heart attacks happen early in the morning… often accompanied by bad sleep patterns.. this habit can lead to heart attack stimulation due to the adverse sleep pattern/neurological/hormonal upset.

    Warning… becareful… Instead of focusing on JUST platform wars and tech trends… it’s important to understand the real human physiological impact advances in information consumption allow. If you would like further studies, material etc to better understand this feel free to ask.

    I find this is a topic that has been largely ignored yet carries great medical ramifications for all of us.

    1. @kyn

      First of all great points, which were told to me by my doctor(s) and something I follow very closely. I am done reading and an hour before I fall asleep, no screens for me. Thanks for looking out for me thought. I totally appreciate your input and your warning is well appreciated.

    2. Absolutely fascinated by this. I am bang to rights guilty of this and will start reading about it. What will be interesting to understand is the impact of different types of stimulus. I’m always doing something before sleep be it TV, reading a book, looking at a computer or i-device…

  10. Great article. For me it’s simple economics. At $99 Amazon will dominate te eReader market with the Kindle. Today it is the best choice for consuming books electronically.IMO only the press and individuals in the tech industry are hung up on a single catch all device. To my mind the iPad presents a great form factor for a home PC, soon to be integrated into your home entertainment network (apple TV anyone?). I can surf, e-mail watch TV/FILM or mess around with apps. Frankly I can see both coexisting comfortably. A true revolution would be the ability to scan your existing physical library (using ISBN code for instance) into your eReader and have your library at your fingertips for a small premium. An iPod for your book collection would grab consumers attention.

  11. I think it is disappointing that the author didn’t define how he defines ‘winning the e-Book Wars’. The whole article is supposed to make a case for Amazon ‘winning the e-Book Wars’, but what does winning look like?

    Is it highest revenue? profits? e-Book hardware revenue? e-Book content revenue? combined e-Book hardware and content combined revenue?

    “Unlike Amazon’s Kindle store, iBooks is going to be limited to the iPad/iPhone platform — which is not good enough for me.” Is the author making a case for the best e-Book reader for himself or making a case for why Amazon will win?

    Is the author suggesting that if Amazon wins then everybody else loses? or will there be multiple winners?

  12. There is a weird irony in the platforms you can read on, though. If you ignore the DRM for a moment, the books you bought from iBookstore are in a standardized and universal ePub format, while the books you buy from Amazon are in a proprietary Kindle-only Amazon format, which also contains formatting bugs because they’re machine-converted from the original ePub. If DRM is removed in the future, as has already happened with iTunes music, then your iBooks purchases will work everywhere, but your Kindle purchases will continue to work only in Amazon book readers. The iBooks purchases may have better long-term value.

    1. Same with the Nook. Amazon won’t have a clear win until they get over their closed-source format and read ePub files. That’s the Nook’s big push, and it’s working for them just like it’s working for Sony.

      You can get library eBooks. You can lend eBooks to friends. You can buy ePub books from tons of other online retailers and read them on a Nook or Sony Reader too.

      And if you take the time, you can crack Amazon’s .azw books and convert them to ePubs – just in case Amazon has a better deal on something. You can’t convert TO a .azw file though, so the locked-down Kindle has some serious limitations.

  13. I was holding off until the Plastic Logic device came out and had a good form factor for my favorite British weekly. Now it’s Plastic who? I am like the others, I want tranquility when I read a book. A bright screen and email running in background will only pull me from edited material to places that require phrases in 160 characters or less.

    I will get my 190 dollar Kindle 2 tomorrow and I look forward to saying shhh while reading it, something that I would never say holding an iPad. I can get my Internet fix on a laptop, desktop, or smartphone.

  14. The ecosystem is Amazon’s best asset with the Kindle. I don’t own an ereader device, but love using my netbook as a Kindle with Kindle for PC. It works great, and on the devices I own. Even if I switch to another platform in the future, I know my books can go with me, and that assurance makes most consumers feel better about ebook purchases. Just like with mp3’s; it’s much nicer buying music online now that it will work with almost any device since it’s DRM free. Kindle books still have drm, but since you can use them on so many platforms/devices it’s not that bad of a restriction.

  15. Am I missing something:

    This is a big advantage for Amazon, for as more people start living multidevice lifestyles, such cross-platform availability of content will increasingly become a big deal.

    In an article about Kindle, Nook, and Ipad, you’ve mentioned that Kindle is cross-platform on the PC, Mac, and Android devices but failed to mention that the B&N books not only match Kindles cross-platform availability but, IMHO, beat it.

    B&N has released apps for reading it’s books on the Ipad/iphone family, as well as macs and PCs. To my knowledge there isn’t yet a B&N branded android app, but they have released an app for that platform through the ereader.com subsidiary. It’s kind of a moot point since they distribute in Epub, and the books can therefore be read through the kobo or other generic app (including Amazon’s own stanza).

    Unlike Amazon, however, B&N books are also being distributed through non-Nook readers such as the Pandigital Novel and the Irex (both bankrupt at the moment, but my point is, Epub is standard, Kindle is proprietary, and every single reader that isn’t a Kindle can, in theory, read Nook books). More importantly, the Nook can read non-Nook Epub natively and is therefore able to read overdrive books from a local library – Amazon, not so much. If I’m not mistaken, Amazon offers whispernet, which will better synch the books across devices, but you’re still limited to their software and their stores.

    To be sure, there are areas in which I see Amazon having an advantage- there are more Kindle exclusive books at the moment, and they have better name recognition. But I have a hard time seeing how an inherently closed, proprietary format is somehow more open than an open format.

    I could be wrong about how some of this works, since I’ve only use the free B&N PC reader. But it just seems at odds with what I understand.

  16. It’s about the hardware.

    My Kindle1 and now KindleDX offer e-Ink, a truly revolutionary technology focused singularly on the needs of readers. It’s one of the few technologies this millennium in the portable device category that struck me as game changing.

    (Reportedly, e-Ink is about to make a quantum leap in contrast, with the upcoming Kindle 3 release.)

    It’s the most compact, lightweight computer I’ve ever used, with a superior power management solution.

    The iPad offers plain vanilla LCD panel technology, a pre-2000 old technology, I suppose LCD panels are more broadly versatile, but fall dramatically behind as inferior for reading books. I see few advantages of an iPad over a laptop, and significant disadvantages. Put simply, there’s nothings significant you can do with an iPad that you can’t do with a laptop. And it’s completely inappropriate for long reading — if it were even capable of it without need of constant recharge.

    1. Seriously?

      The Kindle and Nook are essentially the same thing with the same screen technology. Both display your book in the same way.

      “It’s the most compact, lightweight computer I’ve ever used, with a superior power management solution.”

      Both the Nook and Kindle have exceptional battery life.

      “And it’s completely inappropriate for long reading — if it were even capable of it without need of constant recharge.”

      I will assume you don’t own an iPad and possibly don’t own a Kindle or Nook device. The iPad is actually in a perfect form-factor for reading.

      Please keep in mind that the Nook and Kindle are single use devices that were meant to display books and other periodicals and the iPad was designed to display MUCH more, thus the choice of screen for the iPad. The ipad (which I own) has exceptional battery life and out preforms my MacBook (which has a great battery for a laptop).

      Personally I own an iPad and Nook and love that I can read my books on any of my devices. I use my Nook when there is sufficient light because of the eInk screen and how light weight it is. I use my iPad when there is less light and I might need to do other things such as email or browse the net.

  17. the second one is important and may prove to be quite useful “reminding people of the stuff they already have”….The amazon should think of it and apply it as I too have experienced same situations couple of times before….

    1. NOOK doesn’t allow you to by content twice. When you are shopping and come across a book that you already have in your library, it will give you a link to the book instead of a link to purchase.

  18. Wait, how’s reading on an iPad better than the Kindle? Doesn’t it have a backlit screen? I can’t see how that’s more comfortable than reading on an eInk-type screen.

  19. Om, I agree entirely with you on all 3 points.
    I’d add that you are missing a 4th point that in my view is even more important.
    Amazon started with books and then started selling everything else. The Kindle strategy is, in my view, the same. It’s starting with books but gradually you’ll be able to buy anything from Amazon through the kindle (app and device).
    And this is going to be big. Imagine I am reading a book or magazine on the kindle about Wall Street and with a click of a button from inside the book I can buy the Wall Street 2 movie (either on dvd delivered to my place or streamed digitally to my device). Just imagine that and how big this can become.
    All Amazon needs to do to is to sprinkle a little social web tools onto their ecosystem and they’ll make a killing.
    I wrote about this back in March http://bit.ly/cMRRPb.

    1. Excellent point. What you are proposing would be really cool. If Amazon ever does this I will definitely buy a Kindle. But I think it’s a long way off. The Kindle will have to be completely redesigned into a tablet computer for this to work. And that means farewell to e-ink.

  20. I will never be an Amazon Kindle fan unless and until the device is accessible for blind people (something that Amazon keeps promising and not delivering) and until publishers quit disallowing text-to-speech access to e-books (and/or Amazon stops letting them do it). One thing Apple did do right is to allow VoiceOver to access all iBook content. Blio will do the same. I realize that some may argue that those who cannot read print are a relatively small part of the market (although we may be larger than people think, given that blindness or low vision isn’t the only thing that keeps people from reading print). But we will be a captive and enthusiastic market for the e-book developers who choose to take advantage of it. Consider: Right now we get most of our books for free through specialized library services; if e-books are accessible, we actually have an incentive to purchase books, thereby giving revenue to publishers. Not only has Amazon not made the Kindle accessible, but it hasn’t even made the PC and iPhone aps accessible. Come on Amazon, get with the program.

  21. The app on all platforms strategy should’ve started a LONG time ago, maybe since 2008. It would’ve given them the opportunity to entrench themselves much more than they are now.

    I don’t understand why they made the Kindle a higher priority than being on all platforms. They are all about selling books/ebooks, not hardware.

    It should’ve been the obvious strategic decision long ago, not now after iPad is out and they’re desperate to gain as many customers as possible from all platforms ASAP.

  22. Om, this article is brilliant and I agree with it to 100%. I´ve been working closely with Amazon.de for a few years as a Key Account Manager for one of their premium vendors and I know what they can do and what they aim at. Even if the German division is only the offspring of the big momma in Seattle, they are almost ready to release the Kindle here in Germany. The same situation applies to other big European countries, Amazon is looking for and hiring Kindle managers all over Europe. The point is: they have THE competence when it comes down to buying books and for this reason they will win this battle down the road. Also, from a publishers point of view, publishing for Kindle is a piece of cake and earns you a lot more royalties than doing this for the iPad. The amount of titles available will outpace Apple by far in a few months, I am perfectly sure about this. Keep going on strong and all the best from Germany.

  23. Amazon doesn’t have the ability to compete with the Ipad on features. Never will unless they invest heavily in a risky market or go into a joint venture. Apple has a marketing plan that kills.

    Kindle should stay in their niche market… expand their focus on students, education and reading only features. It’s not worth trying to be everything for everyone.

  24. I see it more as a content war than an ereader war, because the technology is evolving so rapidly that a lot of people I know are paralyzed and won’t make a decision yet, unless they already knew they wanted an iPad or have to own “the next new thing.” Amazon will thrive no matter what, because they sell everything, they are way smarter than publishers about how to treat readers/customers, and don’t have artificial price barriers. The indie revolution is no small part of this–they’ve been the best missionaries a company could hope for.

    Scott Nicholson

  25. “For example, I recently bought the printed collected works of John Cheever’s short stories — after already buying it on my Kindle. It would have been great if the service had reminded me that I d already bought a digital copy and then asked if I was sure about buying an analog version.”

    Om, this is not an Amazon issue, this is a Gingko biloba issue. 🙂

  26. One underlying assumption here is that Apple will not expand its iBook application to other platforms. If they see this as a “big deal” they probably will write it / distribute it for the other ones. See what happened with iTunes? It was exclusively available on Macs, then they pushed it to Windows.

    I’m not sure Apple will be forced to do this since they’re building out and expanding their already wonderful ecosystem. But if they see Amazon as a threat for this reason, it’s just a matter of porting over the iBook application to other platform. Something they have ample resources for.

    1. Charles

      Historically Apple has been pretty reluctant to expand to other platforms, Safari and iTunes being the only exceptions. I am pretty sure they have no reason to go beyond their own devices for iBooks. Given the fight between them and Google, do you see it being offered on Google’s tablets or phones? I don’t. Maybe on a PC, but is that where a lot of eBook reading is going on? Not sure.

  27. “For example, I recently bought the printed collected works of John Cheever’s short stories — after already buying it on my Kindle. It would have been great if the service had reminded me that I d already bought a digital copy and then asked if I was sure about buying an analog version.”

    Really? Maybe you’re buying too many books if you can’t even remember what you’ve already bought.

    1. Actually it was a few months ago I bought the book on Kindle so there is a time lag — and yes I do buy a lot of books. On an average about 75-90 books a year, depending on what kind of a year I am having. The year I was sick, I was actually reading a book every three days. Oh… and that is when great mysteries and classics came in handy. 🙂

  28. Thank you Mr. Malik for the thoughtful article.
    Amazon’s and Apple’s revenue approaches are very different from each other. Amazon has a more classic, “razor-blade” approach. They make the majority of their profit from the purchases after the initial purchased product (like how a shaving company makes the majority of their money from the selling of replacement razor blades after the initial razor). Apple, on the other hand, is interested in the initial purchase. The iTunes Store, the App Store, and the iBook Store all exist to give the customer more motivation to buy an iPod or iPhone. Apple makes very little money from the iTunes Store and the App Store, relatively speaking, of course.
    So, a couple thoughts:
    1. Apple may not care if, once you have an iPad, you are buying from the Kindle store. You have already bought the major purchase that makes their profit. However, I am sure Apple would like you to stick around with their iBook Store.
    2. There is always room for two winners. If Apple does end up dominating the hardware sales, Kindle can still win the ebook retailer “war”.

  29. We’re a two-iPad family with a serious Kindle book buying habit. We’ll never consider buying from the iBook store until they can be shared between devices. Kindle gives us up to five devices — iBooks, one. Fail.

  30. Hi Om,

    I agree with Ram. I consider myself very tech-savvy but I am considering purchasing Kindle for just reading books. I do not want a fancy e-book reader that does many other things. At the same time, Ipad seems too big, compared to Kindle, to casually carry around for reading books on public transportation like subway (I live in NYC)

    Seong

  31. Om, I think you’re absolutely right. Apple wins on the gadget front, but Amazon wins on content. You know, the iPhone is a great device, but I still get nearly all my music from Amazon or eMusic because it’s cheaper there and I can play it anywhere. If there’s a Kindle app for the iPad, and Amazon has a wider selection and better prices, why buy books anyplace else?

    http://www.toddpack.com

  32. The only problem I have with the Kindle as it stands right now is that the Kindle only uses the Kindle format. EPUB is quickly becoming a standard among publishers. iBook and B&N both support EPUB (though the DRM is not compatible). Allow the Kindle to support EPUB and you have a killer product.

  33. Love my Kindle. Reading on the iPad is more difficult because of the strain on the eyes, the weight, & the glare from the sun. I use the iPad for photography & photographic resources & games, but my Kindle will always be my primary reading device.

  34. I too echo what others have suggested: the eye strain using back-lit devices. I had Lasik in 2002 and went from a negative 9 coke-bottle-glasses-wearing nearsighted, to 20/20 overnight. For me it’s comfort and try as I might the iPad wears me out, whereas the Kindle can keep going and going. The harsh bright light before bed leaves me feeling brain fried, whereas the Kindle has no effect on my eyes. I think Kindle will win because they will make that breakthrough which combines an iPad and an eInk device in one, allowing you to switch in a single-side device from bright LED/LCD screen, to plain eInk with the push of a button. Then you get the usefulness of the iPad (which I admit is pretty snazzy) but the traditional, easy-on-the-eyes reading of the Kindle.

  35. I didn’t read all the comments so someone may have already mentioned that iBooks is available on iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch so your “buy once, read anywhere” point needs updating. It will also sync your booksmarks, notes, and settings wirelessly at no additional charge

  36. As for me, I’ll stick to the low-tech solution of actually buying a real book. Though I do make one electronic concession. I download books to my Ipod from Audible.com and let people read to me. The nice thing about it is that you can do other things while listening…walk the dog, drive your car, garden, go fishing. Tons of things like that whereas reading a book whether real or on a reading device means you have to curl up somewhere to do it. Additionally one advantage of an actual book over electronic devices is that the batteries never give out.

    1. As a 59 year old, I agree with you – up to a point! I just moved 73 (count ’em: 73) book storage boxes filled with the bulk of my library. I would much rather have had all of these books on my Kindle!

      1. I just moved, too. I retired to Panama and brought exactly 8 that’s EIGHT books, total, with me, three of those are: Spanish/English dictionary, Spanish verbs, and “Madrigal’s Magic Key to Spanish.” Since I’m a sailor and plan on living in the Bocas del Toro archipelago I brought along two cruising guides for Panama, the “Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea,” “The Admiral of the Ocean Sea” and “The Life of the Admiral Christopher Columbus.” On Columbus’s fourth, and final, voyage, he spent a great deal of time in Panama and I intend to visit those places.

  37. On the contrary, the death knell of the Kindle would sound if Amazon ever tried to turn it into an iPad clone.

    Instead the way to keep the Kindle around is by sticking to the strengths of e-ink.

    No back lit screen. Easy on eyes. Weeks of battery life. Lightweight. Low-cost. …..

    IN the videogame marketplace, the Wii looked dated graphically speaking against the competition, but won the war even though all the gaming media pundits predicted its demise. Same thing with the DS.

    Not saying Kindle is going to win here, but it seems like we’re seeing a similar situation where not enough credit is being given to the strengths of the Kindle. And too many are falling too much for the flashiness of an iPad.

    And cost-wise you can now get a Kindle and a 32gb iPod Touch for less than the price of the lowest end iPad.

    There’s room for the KIndle.

  38. Apple is traditionally a hardware company. I think the sole reason they have iBooks at all is because they want to have an option in addition to the Kindle store – they don’t want to be solely dependent on Amazon for a core function of their device. If it doesn’t “win” there it’s not a problem for them as long as it’s available on the iPad.

  39. I bought the Kindle DX in fall of 2009. Loved it when nothing out there was comparable.

    Right now I highly regret buying the Kindle. It sucks badly. I cant read PDFs right, there is no light. The features are so gimped I am not sure if I should have bought paper books with the $500.

    The only reason I didnt go out and buy an iPad was because it still hurts that I paid $500 for a Kindle DX that pretty much does nothing but read books, and a bad job at it most of the time.

  40. No Kindle or IPad or Nook for this girl. I refuse to pay good money to rent books. You certainly don’t own them. I want to be able to read the book and have the options of 1) keeping it, 2) lending it to friends, 3)donating it to the local library book sale, etc. See?

  41. You picked a strange headline for this story, since you conclude that the Kindle device must change radically or be doomed. I agree completely that BN/Nook has no shot at taking over the ebook space, and so in a sense Amazon can be said to have “won the eBook war” against Barnes. 80 days of iPad sales seem to suggest that Amazon has already lost the eBook device wars, though, and Apple is certainly making a strong play for the eBook store, as well. Don’t forget that Google Editions launches later this summer, as well. I think that the real eBook war – the one for the shop – is only starting.
    Now, as for the device –
    I’ve bought over a hundred books on the Kindle platform and read them on Kindle hardware and in the iPhone, Mac, and iPad versions, and I rate the iPad highest of all. That’s for any use other than beach/pool, which might be a tenth of one percent of my reading time.
    I have found no eyestrain issues with the iPad at all, including on a day where I read what must have been over a thousand pages. Saving the beach/pool case, the iPad display is hugely superior on many counts:
    – Font quality and typesetting. Character glyphs on the Kindle look awful – pixelation, bad shapes, everything. The Kindle midword character gap issue – I assume from bad handling of soft hyphens – ought to be legendary by now. Everyone who touts the Kindle as better for pure reading ought to download the PC or Mac Kindle application and look at the same book on a real display. That’s how good it looks on the iPad, too, in the iPad Kindle app.
    – Layout. My original hope for the Kindle was that it would reduce the number of heavy, expensive technical books I had to buy and carry around. However, the Kindle device’s ability to layout images and flow text around them is so poor as to make many books completely unusable. I blame the software and hardware running in the device, as the applications available for the PC, Mac, and iPad have no such difficulty. My Kindle device went fiction-only because of this problem, which the iPad has completely solved.
    – Image resolution. It’s not just the lack of color, it’s the lack of detail in which the Kindle suffers. Pictures on the Kindle look grainy and indistinct. Again, look at the same book on the PC or Mac version of the Kindle app; it looks at least that good on the iPad.
    – Night – The Kindle needs a light in the dark, and no one here has yet mentioned the glare you get on the e-Ink display surface with a booklight.
    – Finally, color. I have been amazed at the number of books that were published in black and white in the print edition that suddenly reveal themselves in glorious color on the iPad.

    The Kindle device is dead. I think eInk itself is dead – as good as the iPad looks now, I can’t imagine what it’ll be like in a year or so when it gets the iPhone Retina display. Color, resolution, high-quality legible typefaces, speedy rendering – if you’re chained to an eInk device, you have no idea what you’re missing.
    The Kindle store and application suite, though, I could easily see winning overall. But it’s not over yet.

    SK

  42. I purchased a Kindle. The wife and I loved it. The HOME button was the main complaint (should’ve been same as the left side and HOME integrated somewhere else) and the lack of sorting the books in the library (supposed to be fixed in current update). Other than that, as an e-reader, it is leagues above others in simplicity and ease of use. People say the iPad is a multifunction device. Granted, it is. But when you go to the book store to purchase a book, was the book able to surf the web, listen to music, send texts, etc.? Nope. It was to read. Plain and simple. That’s what the Kindle and other just e-readers are for: reading a book!

    When I found Kindle for PC and, now that I have an iPod Touch, Kindle for iPod, I am further impressed with Kindle. I can read my books at work (secretively on the PC) without having to use my Kindle in view so I look like I’m working when I’m actually not. 😛 It has greatly increase my reading time. When I want to read at night and not turn on the lights, I use my Touch. The lighted screen in the dark is perfect although I tend to not read as long since it’s like a beacon of light in the pitch dark and my eyes get tired faster. The Touch (and I’d assume iPad) doesn’t fair well in the bright sunlight. The Kindle has no issue with lighting other than lack of it.

    Anyway, I can purchase books through the Kindle for me and my kids. I can read my books on my Kindle or PC or Touch and they can read theirs on their Touches with no extra charges. The convenience of this alone is what makes the Kindle a better choice for me and mine.

    The wife also has a Nook but the PC version seems to need to have iTunes to work and it’s not as simple as the Kindle for PC. I can’t say for sure as I haven’t used it. I’ve only helped a friend with a Nook find it and she didn’t like the functionality of it. I have the Nook app on my Touch but haven’t used it yet.

    Anyway, it’ll be hard to dethrone a champion device (like iPod vs Zune) when the champion came out doing things right from the beginning. The Kindle is an e-reader and pretty much nothing more. It’s for reading and if that’s not what you want, then you probably don’t want to just enjoy reading a book without all the other technological distractions.

  43. The common masses is buying the idea of the iPad as a book reader because Jobs says so. The main function of an iPad is not a book reader, its a media consumption device.

    Both of them play very different roles, despite Jobs’ argument of putting the Kindle behind the iPad. Ultimately, there will be people like me who will take the Kindle over the iPad anytime, anywhere.

    I must agree with this readers assessment. I have a computer at home, anyone can find one anywhere these days. It is not a good idea for the kindle to try to compete with the ipad. I think the idea is to stick with books and see where it goes. After all Neil Stephenson has a book called ‘the diamond age’ about a young ladies computerized primer. I’d like the kindle to go into this area in the end! Buy this book on your kindle recommended!

  44. Amazon has already won the front as a retailer and I agree that they will probably continue to hold a major share of e-book sales. I’m skeptical, though, about whether we can really call it a “win” if the Kindle is already old hat compared to the iPad? I also think it’s possible Apple might gain a nice portion of e-book sales if it improves its iBooks store, which I think it will.

    For now, though, I guess I’m also stuck with the low-tech solution. I’ve got so many p-books (physical) at home still to read that I can’t justify buying an e-reader yet!

  45. You know what else is lightweight, super-portable, is easy to read, but doesn’t have an entry level cost of at least $200, up to $500? A BOOK!

    Here’s an example:
    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003E2UR1S?pf_rd_p=1263874022&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=2237633011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1NGY99ASADX11K0GE33G

    I don’t know what this book is, I just took it as an example off Amazon.com. The book is $12.65 normally, $10.96 digitally. If your device ever crashes, gets erased, or is accidentally dropped, you lose that book AND the use of a very expensive device. Is it really worth saving a buck and a half a book? You’d have to buy a LOT of books to make up the difference if you purchase an iPad for it to eventually become a money-saving device, which it’s not going to be anyway because you’re buying/consuming more books than you normally would just because of the convenience, so ultimately you’ll be spending more money. And by the time you do break even, a new version of the device will come out, you’ll buy it and be starting over. Not a great deal.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002YKOXB6?pf_rd_p=1263874022&pf_rd_s=center-3&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=2237633011&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1NGY99ASADX11K0GE33G

    This example shows that the Kindle version is actually MORE money, by more than $6 compared to the regular paperback edition. Not really any more convenient, but I’m sure you look cool at Starbucks sipping a $6 coffee and reading on your iPad than you would if you just had an old fashioned book. I’m hoping that the winner of the e-Book wars is the print industry.

    1. You don’t lose the use of your ebooks from Amazon if your device goes south. You can download them again to a new device and share them with more than one of your own devices such as your phone or computer. It will synch all of them to each other so it keeps track of where you are.

  46. Wow. My sentiments exactly.
    Post iPad I’ve never picked up my Kindle. But on my iPad and iPhone all my ebooks are from Amazon/Kindle. The buying experience is great, it’s instantly available on my devices, I’ve been using Amazon for books before there was even an iPod.

  47. If Amazon wants to keep the device around…

    I don’t know that they do. What benefit is there for them to now keep the hardware around? It was mentioned when the Kindle was first announced that Amazon was just attempting to jumpstart the digital book sale market and now that it has and it has software running on most popular platforms I can’t see what benefit there is to Amazon to continue to sell Kindles. Especially at the current price.

    Let Apple, Google and others make the hardware. Amazon has already proven they an ship software that people want to read.

  48. The winner of the eBook wars, I hope, will be the consumer. No one company will be an all-out winner, although some may become losers. I agree that people are less concerned about hardware than content and capability (usually meaning software). I’m not convinced by your article that the Kindle or Amazon will be the “winner,” but it surely brought out a lot of Kindle aficionados–which testifies to its degree of success thus far. Many reviews conclude that the iPad is inferior in reading quality, that the Nook is preferred by many, and the Kobo reader is a solid choice. So, there are lots of varying opinions out there. Consumers would be wise to do their homework. Thanks for what you brought to the discussion.

  49. I love my iPod, but I love vinyl records more. I don’t own (or plan to own) an iPad or a Kindle, and love the age-old idea of “curling up with a good book.” Curling up with a Kindle just doesn’t sound right. Call me old-fashioned.

  50. I think you underestimate the importance of the file formats and book availability. Kindle is adamant about sticking with Amazon’s proprietary file format, which, as I understand, won’t work on any other device. The Nook uses the more generic epub file format, compatible with a wide range of devices. More importantly, epub format books are available from a number of online publishers – not just Barnes & Noble.

    This takes me back to the Beta vs. VHS debate in the eighties. Although Beta was technically superior, VHS won simply because more movies were published on VHS. I suggest that availability of compatible content will be the deciding factor in this race, and that by picking the epub format, B & N is a step ahead of Amazon or Apple.

  51. A well-written article, but poorly researched. Nook and its supporting infrastructure are just as capable as the Kindle. Does the Kindle even have a LendMe option? That’s pretty awesome.

  52. Please research all products before providing a compare contrast- otherwise it makes you look like youre lazy or a shill.

    Nook and its supporting infrastructure are at the very least as capable as Kindle’s. Does the Kindle even offer a lending option? I’m admitting I dont know, as I do not own one.

    Anyway, that’s that. People just publish whatever they want anymore.

  53. You aren’t staying up reading longer because the iPad provides a superior reading experience, you are staying up reading longer because the iPad is backlit, which, according to recent studies, impacts your ability to SLEEP.

    1. My guess is that any artificial light source impacts our ability to sleep by messing with our circadian rhythms, and all that, but few of us are ready to live in the dark after sunset.

      Re: comments about the backlit iPad, I remember when I was a kid, you could buy these special “T.V.” lamps to put near your television set because everyone knew that watching TV in a dark room without one would make you go blind!

  54. The one thing I wish the Kindle store had:
    Bundles of Physical and Kindle books.
    If I could buy a paper book, and the ebook in one go, with a discount like they have when you get other bundles of paper books. I could then just download the ebook, read it and delete it, knowing a permanent, DRM free, and readable everywhere copy of the same book is slowly sailing over the seas to me and will arrive in a few weeks to be stored in my library.

  55. Yes, Kindle is the future of books. I love my e-books but can’t hang on to Kindles. I have broken 3 kindles so far and refuse to pay for 4th one. Amazon charges to replace a Kindle if it is damaged by trauma. They are easily broken if pressure is applied to them or they drop on the floor. My iPhone, on the other hand, is a very convenient way to read the books I have and I have never broken it. I always have it and don’t have to carry a separate device so I read from it exclusively. No more Kindles for me.

  56. I am no Apple/iPad fanatic, just a technology saavy person who has just bought an iPad. Just talking about eBooks on the iPad the highlight feature and dictionary have convinced me the trend has been set. All other eBooks are going to play catch up at this time. It is a little heavier, but I learning to adapt, as many will. The synergy of iPad/iPod/iPhone/MacBook is going to be huge. One iPad in our home of five is not enough.

  57. I know where the future of publishing is heading- digital. but I just cannot help it- I love bookstores and libraries. I love cracking the binding of the new book you just picked up on a lazy Saturday afternoon and now will spend the rest of the weekend reading curled up on your sofa… sitting there with a small electronic devise just does not do it for me… yet.

  58. I believe that iBook is a great idea to attract the consumer for getting iPhone,iPad or iPod touch , and its a smart movement from apple.
    I only have an iPhone, and because of the App store , not only the iBook or the kindle app, I can get the book that i want and read it ,
    the only difference between the iPod and the iPad for is the size..
    many people who bought the iPad were interested in the experience of playing and watching movies in a larger screen .
    and at the end it depend on the customer preference.

  59. I have been trying to tell B&N this for years – no response – no reply at all… One of the major executives lives ten miles from me. We have mutual friends. Not even a reply to an email.

    I wrote in my blog 18 months ago that there was going to be a tablet from Apple that would kill the rest of them and that Amazon’s future was in the sale of content. I bought a Kindle when it first came out. My colleagues all laughed at me saying it was worthless. My stduents think I have a direct line somewhere. It is kind of funny to watch them after what I said in my lecture is released by CNN or Time. They look at me like RCA’s old mascot.

    B&N’s Nook just isn’t the right product. Apple makes the physical and Amazon distributes the virtual. Now if B&N could just realize that and focus on content not devices then they would have an edge at least. The college market is where they are strong and need to work on developing, but oh well….

  60. Great post here,
    I can see where such E-books,and reading devices could have their place in today’s mobile society. For myself, I just really have little use for anything like that. Nothing like kicking back and thumbing good ole ink scented pages,and real book-markers. Still, this is a great post. Brought to mind all the record companies, who drug their feet instead of jumping aboard the E-train, as it Amtack-ed by them,fast enough to spin their regretful heads,as all the recording artist started producing their own music under their own labels.
    Keep the good work coming.

  61. I cannot for the world of me understand why the iPad needs to be exclusive to AT&T. Some days my iPhone is a Phone, on others it is a paperweight. I am settling for a Kindle, till Apple can get rid of that noose around their neck.

  62. I think Om needs to brush up on some of his information on the “nook”. Buy once read anywhere also goes for the “nook”. B&N has an e-reader download that will alow you to read their ebooks on the iPad, iPod, Blackberry phones, and coming soon android devices. The “nook” reads the epub format which allows you to borrow ebooks from the public library system. The Kindle doesn’t read the epub format. B&N is new to the technology market, but it does have an operating relationship with Google and uses the Android operating system.

  63. I like using a Original kindle because it has the SD card slot and it’s battery seems to last forever, which I find a big help! Using a eReader tablet is fun and easy on the eyes, that is why folks are buying and “really” enjoying using them, even when they have computers, laptops, PDA’s and cell phones.

    Also consider, If i’m traveling to some places, I’d much rather take a kindle because it would attract much less attention than a new Apple iPad would…

    BTW: You own more than one pair of shoes, why not choose to read on more than one “reading device”?

  64. Right now it’s all about rendering and consuming text. But the real battle will be for social interaction. This video by Kevin Rose (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odQfE48wM_M) is a taste of where things are going, and companies like BookGlutton (http://www.bookglutton.com), which keeps books in the cloud and has built community into the reading experience from the ground up with chat, virtual book groups, and annotations, will be the real competition in the coming years. Then it will no longer be about rendering, it will be about consuming and discussing books the same way we consume other media: socially, online. Just as it’s hard for a brick-and-mortar store to translate its offline presence into a digital one to deliver software, it’s not in a standard retailer’s capabilities to switch from one-way audience communication to a community focus.

  65. The kindle is still hamstrung by DRM and stupid region controls. I can buy a CD from the US and ship it to my door, I can buy a book from the US and ship it to my door, but I’m not allowed to download the same content from the same store as a digital file??? This will only drive up piracy. When I can get the latest books easier over Usenet than I can legitimately from a store where I want to spend my money, there is something very wrong with the distribution model.

    1. Whilst I superficially agreed with your point, I surprised myself when I thought some more about it.

      Whether you are buying a CD, Book, Application, MP3 or eBook, you are buying the right to access that content in the medium sold or permitted for re-use (e.g. in the UK we relaxed the law around the ripping of CDs to digital files for personal use). The rights holders have differing means of distribution, taxation regimes, expectations of profitability, channel agreements and so on consequently setting different price points depending on the country of sale. Whilst the Internet has brought transparency in the resulting pricing variances, the variability is inevitable and not exactly unreasonable.

      Given that, I don’t really see why DRM is so bad especially given the ease with which digital files can be duplicated. I’d sooner have the DRM required by the licence holders and a Kindle than an anti-DRM Amazon and no Kindle.

      In any case, witness the success of the iPod and iTunes ecosystem which also has robust DRM. That tells me that the issue is not the DRM but the implementation. In the case of both the iTunes and Kindle, the ability to reuse content that we have purchased across a number of different end devices seems rightly fair and well implemented. It’s that simplicity of implementation with palatable pricing that made iTunes such a success seeing piracy relegated as a concern for the record labels who then consented to the sale of DRM free tracks.

      So, back to your point about being able to buy a book and ship it to the UK. Why not change your Amazon account to a US address and buy your content at US prices? Either pay the excess wireless fee for over the air download outside the US or save the dosh, download and load up over USB? You might find though that that gets to be your preferred route and you’ll need a second, local Amazon account. A small price to pay methinks.

  66. I don’t want Kindle to become like the Ipad. Sorry, but I love to read books. I love to browse the internet on my computer. But I want the two to be separate, not in one tool. While its nice to have Wikipedia on my Kindle and I must admit it is one reason I like it better than a regular old book, I don’t want the distraction of email, Facebook, and all those other things that are fine on my computer, but should not go to bed with me when I want to read a good book. I also don’t want a touch pad. I like the keypad!

    I think some of the folks here are correct. Many people in the media do not know the average Kindle user. We are readers, above all things. We are not necessarily into the latest tech gadgets. The ebooks are great because we can access our books easily, buy new ones at the push of a button, and store hundreds of books in one handy package.

    I don’t have an iPhone or even a Smartphone. I don’t want one. The Ipad is nice, but honestly, with my home computer and my netbook, the Ipad is a niche product that I really don’t need. Cool, but not practical for me. I don’t want a flashy back lit screen that hurts my eyes after hours of reading. I like the fact that my Kindle battery lasts for days and days and days, unlike my netbook.

    If Amazon decides to make an Ipad-like Kindle, I won’t buy it just because its cool. And those who love the Ipad will buy…an Ipad! So it would be silly for them to try to compete. Readers like ebooks. Ipad lovers like the Ipad.

  67. An Apple Fan writing an article of Apple product vs something else and Apple wins. Let me guess you have a Apple laptop, phone and now and tablet. Any you prefer the Apple tablet over others (SURPRISE!!!). You are so so so so bias that is spill over to other articles. I think I got some of that bias on my clothes, I hope it comes out on my next wash. There is a large percentage of people that HATE Apple. I have friends that will not touch my iPhone if their life depended on it so these people will never, ever see the iPad as a possible solution for e-reading (and yes there are millions of these people) and since no one else sells an iPad clone these people will never ever buy an iPad. There are enough of these people to sustain a couple of other devices (even if the IPad was the superior product). Now other reasons that this article is extremely biased:
    1. BATTERY LIFE. Dedicaded e-readers have much much longer battery life. 7-14 DAYS vs 10 hours (or ~1/2 a day) that is way over 10x the battery life.
    2. People that like to read will read ANYWHERE, but I imagine your Apple biased self do not see anyone reading outside. You know because is so rare to see someone reading at a bench stop waiting for the bus, or in the park, or at the beach, or even in an outside tables in restaurant and coffee shops. And e-ink rules (tha iPad is worthless outside).
    3. Price. Oh yes you Apple biased brain forgets that, since Apple brain washed people do not seemed to care about money. You know for the price of the iPad I can buy the most expensive Kindle for $380 and $20 e-books cheaper than the iPad. But I actually prefer the regular one (it is lighter and easier to carry) which means I can get one for each member of my family (spouse and child) and STILL buy books cheaper than 1 iPad.
    4. CONNECTIVITY. I know that in the Apple biased world they have wifi everywhere in the universe. But the new Kindle (for $189) can download books everywhere there is 3G (the iPad is optional which you have to decided before you buy the iPad and there is a re-occuring charge to have it).
    5. PORTABILITY. Oh yes, it is lighter, you can use the same cable to charge the Kindle that hundreds of different phones, digital cameras, and USB devices have). Because the Kindle uses a UNIVERSAL STANDARD cable as oppose ti the highly proprietary Apple cable (which Apple biased people own). Even the books can move from device to device 1000x easier than the one in the iPad (unless purchased through Amazon).

    As most Apple biased people. You already made your mind the second you heard the rumors of the Apple tablet device and wrote the article once you had the device in your hands.

    This article would of been OK have it ended. With the words:
    * Article sponsored by Apple
    * Article sponsored by Apple Fans
    * Biased article
    * An Apple fan thoughts on Apple vs Kindle

    or something similar.

    1. How can you say that the author is so biased in favor of Apple when the title of his article is “Why Amazon’s Kindle Will Eventually Win the e-Book Wars.” Did you even bother to read the article? the author makes some excellent points and I hope at Amazon is listening. While I join with other Kindle owners that don’t want Amazon to radically change and produce iPad clones; faster performance, touchscreen interface and some kind of controlled backlighting would dramatically improve the Kindle experience. Trying to follow a group or class discussion on a Kindle is extremely difficult (as the discussion generally moves faster than the ability to navigate through a Kindle) as is trying to move the 5 way controller to look up a word or footnote.
      Right now I am in dimly lit Clifton’s cafeteria in downtown LA and I have to use my iPad because it is to dark to use my iPad. Amazon biased people like Delian Ann rightly point to iPad’s deficiencies in bright sunlight. But while it is difficult to read an iPad in bright sunlight I have always been able to read everything I needed to simply by adjusting the screen I don’t need anything else. Whereas on moonless nights when I need to read a bus or train schedule, I have to find streetlight often populated with ne’er do wells if I am to get the information that I want. To prevent others from falsely claiming bias on my part I will disclose that I own a Kindle DX, iPad 3G 64 GB, and an HTC Droid Incredible. I have happily bought and read Kindle books on all three devices and often carry all three on outings to Comic-Con in San Diego, business trips and excursions to LA, Santa Barbara. The Kindle is a great device and E-Ink should not be something Amazon should give up on just to be like the iPad. But Amazon could learn a lot by introducing things like a touchscreen, backlight, and faster processors.

      Sent from my iPad

  68. I have to disagree with your final point. The kindle has a couple points of advantage over the iPad, the main ones being that it consumes MUCH less power, and that it doesn’t have the screen glow that strains my eyes. I stare at a screen for work – I don’t want that while I’m reading.

    To follow up on the power thing – I go camping, and I travel at times, and having a device that can maintain a charge for days or weeks while storing a library’s worth of reading material is a huge plus.

    If I get an iPad or something like it it is more likely to be replacing my laptop than my kindle, and I won’t be reading books on it.

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