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

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To paraphrase Yoda: Begun, the e-book wars have.

Barnes & Noble (s bks) started the week off by cutting prices on its Nook e-book reader to $199 from $259, while also introducing a new, $149 Wi-Fi model. Not to be left behind, Amazon, which helped jump-start the e-book reader craze, decided to cut the price on its entry-level Kindle model to $189 from $259. The punch and counterpunch has prompted more than one watcher of the space to declare that an e-book price war is about to break out.

Others are musing about Amazon’s fate. All this hand-wringing is old hat for our community, because Kindle hardware or not, Amazon (s amzn) is expected to make a billion dollars from its digital book-related business this year. From where I stand, Amazon has nothing to worry about, as long as it pays attention to a few details. (And no, that doesn’t mean sharing a bigger cut of revenues with publishers.) Regardless, there are three technological reasons why the online retail giant can and will win the e-book war.

1. Buy once, read anywhere

The day I first laid hands on Apple’s (s aapl) iPad I banished my Amazon Kindle to the back of the proverbial drawer. And yet, I have been spending, on average, about $10 every 3-5 days on Amazon’s site buying a book to read using the Kindle application on the iPad. In fact, the reading experience on the iPad is so superior to that of the Kindle I often find myself staying up later than usual reading a book.

In comparison, I’ve bought three books from the iBooks store and quite frankly, see no reason to go back. It has fewer options, but more importantly, I can only read those books on the iPad. The books I buy in a Kindle store will work on an Android device, as well as on an iPad, iPhone or Mac. Oh, also on my Kindle by the way, which I can take out of my drawer at any time.

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. Unlike Amazon’s Kindle store, iBooks is going to be limited to the iPad/iPhone platform — which is not good enough for me. I like the flexibility of the Kindle app, even if it offers books to me in somewhat of a less attractive format. In other words, Amazon should be thinking about Kindle as a platform that leverages other people’s hardware.

2. We go way back

Most people already associate Amazon with buying books online. Meanwhile Barnes & Noble, while a great brick-and-mortar brand, hasn’t been able to translate its offline presence into a digital one. As a customer, Amazon has all my billing information and has built a profile of books and digital goods that I like. Could Amazon’s recommendation system be better? Absolutely. But in comparison to Barnes & Noble and other booksellers, it’s good enough.

I do wish Amazon would take some time to improve the customer experience. 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. There have been other times when I’ve reordered a book I originally purchased, say, 10 years ago — it would be nice for Amazon to ask me: Do you still want it? Or, did you lose it and want a new copy? You get the drift.

What I’m suggesting is nothing radical. Mining data and deriving intelligence from it is a fast-growing field and Amazon has 15 years’ worth that can be used to its advantage.

3. It’s always about the software

When I see companies such as Barnes & Noble try and diversify by building technology products, I laugh; they just don’t have the DNA. Barnes & Noble is a retailer first and everything else later. It’s even funnier to watch the company think it can wage wars with hardware. If that was indeed the case, Samsung, Nokia (s nok) and others wouldn’t be running scared of Google (s goog) and Apple.

The reason the mobile industry is all topsy-turvy is because Apple and Google have made the hardware industry about the software. Sure, the latest features matter, but what matters more is the ability to create and release software at a rapid clip, thus improving the platforms on an ongoing basis. Traditional handset makers are on a product release cycle that’s at odds with such agile development.

Barnes & Noble — and any other competing e-reader makers — are going to find themselves in the same place as well. I think this is Amazon’s third technological advantage: It is, at heart, a software company that sells books and other things. Given the rapid speed with which it has been innovating with its cloud computing offerings, it’s clearly also a disciple of agile development methodologies.

Amazon should indeed be spending all its energies on furthering its app experience to make it the best book-buying and reading application on any platform. That, in my opinion, would be money well spent. The user experience is why Apple is able to command a premium for its products. Amazon can do the same.

So what about Kindle — the device?

If Amazon wants to keep the device around, it will have to transform it from a mere e-book reader to a content consumption device that matches the iPad in its capabilities. Otherwise, like the Nook, it’s already dated.

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

  1. 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

  2. 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.

  3. Om, this article is brilliant and I agree with it to 100%. I´ve been working closely with 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.

  4. Lucian Armasu

    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.

  5. Chris Danielsen

    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.

  6. Andrea Favale

    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

    • Luis Eduard

      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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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….

    • Digital Dan

      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.

  9. apetra

    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.

    • 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.

      • apetra

        “I will assume you don’t own an iPad and possibly don’t own a Kindle or Nook device.”

        What an ill mannered person you are.

  10. 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 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Tom Christner

    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.

  13. Hamranhansenhansen

    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.

    • Rebekah

      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.

  14. sfmitch

    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?

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

    • @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.

    • Andrew

      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…

  17. 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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

    • 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?!

      • Ken Jackson

        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.

  18. Anwara

    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.

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

  19. 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.

    • MorituriMax

      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.

      • YUvamani

        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.

  20. 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:

    • Rebekah

      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.

  21. Dan Rasay

    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.

    • 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.

      • 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.

      • 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.

      • Andrew

        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!!!

    • 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 –

      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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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?

  24. 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.