E-books: iPad is a Game Changer No. 2

Now, when everybody is crowding into discussions about iPad and it’s potential influence on e-book market, there must be somebody to write about a device, which changed the game already.

Yes, it’s an iPhone. Big guys will never admit it because they can’t make that much money from a device being a game changer completely unintentionally. One of the most famous contemporary quotes on reading is about the iPhone:

It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. – Steve Jobs

It’s much more profitable to bring a new game changer and draw all attention to it. This is what happens with iPad and iBookstore.

From a point of view of an average e-book reader it all started with the iPhone. We readers can prove it not with forecasts, simulations and awesome demos, but a sheer user experience.

I’m just one of fans of the e-reader called iPhone. Here is my list of changes this single device already made or at least ignited:

:. Made e-books more accessible

Some time ago the only way to read e-books was either a computer or an e-ink device. The second option was an expensive one. And then the iPhone came and said: “hey, you can turn me into an e-reader with no extra costs”. One day millions of people were given a chance to try e-books, and what’s most important, the mobile ones, so the major problem we all had with 1st gen e-books (no mobility at all) was gone in no time.

Easy access to e-books was one thing. The next big benefit was that those books were in most cases for free. Many apps like Stanza or Eucalyptus were giving an access to free public domain books from catalogs based on Project Gutenberg resources. Amazon was not interested in making free books popular. They wanted to sell not to give.

Was it a good deal for readers? Enough to say that with 3.5 million unique users of a single application, Stanza, iPhone became the most popular e-book reading device in the world.

:. Changed the way we look at e-books

The first generation of e-books were just boring pdf documents on a screen of a desktop computer in an office – and this was the major reason people refused to try them. iPhone, more than a Kindle, changed the attitude. Everything done with such a sexy thing becomes sexy as well.

In my opinion Kindle was and still is a device to convert heavy readers from “p” to “e”. iPhone serves another purpose. It has the biggest potential to bring people back to reading. Those who escaped to the world of social media, on-line video and gaming. Thanks to the iPhone reading belongs to the same world of interests.

:. Pushed big players to change attitude

It didn’t took much time for big e-bookstores to see potential of the iPhone.

Business thinking goes like this: if there is another device, through which I can sell books, why shouldn’t I use it, especially when the device’s producer is not interested?

Bookstores on iPhone? Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Fictionwise. Really, making an iPad version of an existing application is not such a big deal as entering Apple platform in a first place. And there are also newspapers in the iPhone game, naming only The New York Times. Who knows how engaged NYT would be in the iPad if there were no iPhone before.

:. Changed the way people collect books

This is one of the most essential points. Collecting books evolved from sticking to one device and one bookstore.

iPhone became another access device to Kindle Store or B&N shelves. But at the same time, opposite to Kindle or Nook, it was giving an exceptional benefit – access to both Amazon and Barnes&Noble. How was it changing a habit? iPhone users were first to realize that sticking to one shelf is not needed any more. More important was freedom to choose and freedom to access.

:. Brought a book to next level

iPhone caused creativity to explode. There were thousands of apps created for the book category. Developers were using all the possibilities iPhone was giving to them. Enhanced books started to appear in the AppStore. A wonderful example is The Death of Bunny Munro. In my opinion this book is a symbolic birth of a new generation of books.

The next gen books, the ones which can be consumed with many senses, were not waiting for the iPad.

It’s no doubt that this unprecedented storm of ideas was caused by Steve Job’s lack of interest in e-books. Everybody wanted to be smarter and benefit from iPhone’s e-book friendliness before the Apple guys. With iPad everything will happen in a shadow of an iBookstore and creativity will flourish to level allowed by Apple.

The game is not over yet. Comparing to current 300 thousand iPad users, there are 70 million people with iPhones. Those who haven’t done it yet, can turn their iPhones into an e-reader in a couple of minutes. And this is what will happen as a result of all the Apple/iPad/e-books buzz.

I wish every device designed for reading to be able to influence the way we consume books in such an extensive and innovative way.

9 Replies to “E-books: iPad is a Game Changer No. 2”

  1. Pingback: E-books: iPad is a game changer No. 2 | Password Incorrect | lost-travel.com

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