Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The Sound of Dead Trees Falling

If you haven't heard by now, Amazon has launched their Kindle Reader for the iPhone, and it's free. Better than that, it's good. How good? I downloaded the app in moments. Amy is an avid Kindle reader, so I put in her access info. In literally 2 seconds, every book she ever bought on her Kindle was available for me to read on the iPhone.

The app itself is excellent, offering superb readability, and intuitive controls. It remembers where you are, or where you started reading on one device, and picks up on another. It is easily the most seamless syncing I have experienced on the iPhone.

So what does this mean? It means every iPhone is now an eBook reader with Amazon's expansive Kindle-based selection and incredibly inexpensive prices. Yes, the e-ink of the Kindle vastly trumps the iPhone, but as a close second, it's pretty good. Not to mention the install base of iPhones is far larger than Kindles (though I have documented many Kindles in the wild on my Facebook album).

To me, this represents a significant death knell for the dead tree publishers. Would I pay for a newspaper subscription on my iPhone, delivered by Amazon daily, so that I wake up and it's there, rather than having to find a good data signal on the ferry with its dead spots? Actually, yes. Short stories are a great addition, as are good novels. In short, this means that Amazon will continue to grow its available customers, and continue to bring pressure to publishers to make all books available as e-books.

Kudos, Amazon.

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