Why Amazon Must/Will Bring Kindle Content to Phones

Image 1 for post iPhone getting a Mobipocket eBook client. What's that mean for Amazon's Kindle?( 2008-05-19 13:27:15) Wow, all of this eBook news and it isn’t even “Read an eBook” week! Yes, that week actually does exist and it’s fast approaching: mark down March 8 -14, 2009 on your cal. Oh right: so what’s the news?

Turns out that a New York Times article pointed to by MobileRead offers the following tidbit today:

“Also Thursday, Amazon said that it was working on making the titles for its popular e-book reader, the Kindle, available on a variety of mobile phones. The company, which is expected to unveil a new version of the Kindle next week, did not say when Kindle titles would be available on mobile phones.”

This follows hot on the heels of Google offering 1.5 million public domain titles on mobile handsets, so the timing is interesting. Plus we all have expectations of the second Kindle announcement on Monday of next week. Might we hear more about mobile phone content at the same time?

Although Amazon’s Kindle is great device that helps sell content and add revenue for Amazon, the move to offer content on other devices makes sense. Not everyone is going to plunk down $400 for a dedicated eBook reader. Most of those same folks do however, already own a capable mobile phone handset. Why not add those devices to the potential revenue stream?

Technically it shouldn’t be a huge challenge since Amazon uses a slightly tweaked version of Mobipocket’s DRM. Perhaps it’s too much of a leap here, but I suspect that Amazon would offer content for an updated Mobipocket software client. The software can already download titles from the web using the phone’s connection, so it simulates one of the best features of the Kindle. Currently, Mobipocket works on the PC, PalmOS, Windows Mobile, Symbian S60 and BlackBerry platforms. And that highlights the very reason I think Amazon must make this happen: who’s missing from the list I just mentioned?

Yup, it’s Apple and the iPhone. At some point, I believe that Apple will seriously get into the eBook market. I could be wrong of course, but do you think Amazon will take the chance of letting Apple beat them in their own backyard?

Not gonna happen. They’ll want to gain revenues out of the hundreds of millions of non-Apple handsets if they can and this is a sure way to do it. We might not hear about Kindle content on handsets next week, but it’s a safe bet we’ll hear about it this year. I’ll take May in the betting pool; that’s the month before I expect we hear from Apple on the next-generation iPhone, services and features.


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