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Welcome iPad. Uh-Oh Kindle. ($499!)

Okay, I’ll admit it. I watched a live telecast of Jobs announcing the iPad this morning. (Let’s worry less about what that says about me, which is alarming).

Critics say “it’s a big iPhone”:
1/2 inch thin.
1  1/2 lbs in weight.
9.7″ screen.
10 hrs battery time.

(I’ll leave all this analysis to the pundits…because you know what I was really interested in.)

How was Apple going to do books?

The short answer seems be to be: “very very well”.

Similar to how we download iTunes, iBooks will have titles available to download wirelessly right to the device. Apple has initial partnerships with Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, Penguin, MacMillan and Hachette Group. I am sure they are just a small start to the many more partnerships to come. I don’t fret about selection.

My curiosity was what would be the experience?
I was intrigued because we know Apple does experience very well.

After we purchase them, books will download directly to our “Bookshelf”. It has color and depth and yes, it conjures up an image of our bookstore, or our home office, or our library or our nightstand. (Hint, hint: it doesn’t conjure up an image of our hard drive, or our file cabinet. Blech.) And when we turn the page, we sweep our finger across the screen, we don’t push a button. The touch screen allows us to retain that part of the original experience, which is physically turning a page.

Here’s why the iPad is going to blow the Kindle away.

Reading is intensely personal. What we read is an extension of our preferences, our curiosities, and our taste.  Just like our choice in music and movies–books are a medium of expression. In some way, these things define us.

For many (like you reading this right now), enjoying books is not merely a functional experience. Just looking at the Kindle implies a functional relationship. It does what we expect. It’s efficient, organized, prompt, easy. But, let’s face it, it’s not fun. It doesn’t add to our definition of ourselves. Or it doesn’t for me.

For those that have been on the “bubble” of eBooks (ahem), the invitation to participate is now hand-written. It’s personal. The resistance grows weaker. This is the future of books.

Clearly, I am swayed by what fantastic marketing can do. It creates a relationship between a product and consumer that is intensely personal. That defies logic. That is not rational. That transcends function.

Apple said this today:
“I don’t have to change to fit the product.
The product fits me.”

Nailed it.

(The entire Jobs keynote can be found here).

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12 Comments Post a comment
  1. avenue4design #

    Very well said! -Kevin P.

    January 27, 2010
  2. Oh my goodness! I. Must. Have. This!!!

    I have a Kindle now, but I have mixed feelings about it. You are right – this will blow the Kindle away. The iPad addresses so many of the things I don’t like about Kindle. Apple marketing is fantastic, true, and so are the products.

    January 27, 2010
  3. The color is what is grabbing me. Sounds silly, but I just couldn’t get excited about an entirely black and white reading experience. I need to see the color of the book cover. There’s something about it that speaks to me.

    January 28, 2010
    • katykeim #

      I don’t think it is silly. I bet if you asked enough people, giving up the experience of a book cover is an issue on the Kindle. Again, colors and design make books memorable. We feel better when we ‘recognize’ the book. When Jobs introduced the bookshelf, I found myself scanning the titles to see what they had put up there. (e.g. Wolf Hall, The Help etc.) Another big factor here is the bookshelf will allow you, on a plane or wherever, to show someone quickly what you are reading. Like a playlist, it’s a reflection of you.

      January 28, 2010
  4. david fellows #

    It’ll be interesting to see how Amazon reacts. I think a drastic price decrease will be coming. And speaking of price, please note that Apple will be charging either $15 or $30 per month for connectivity. Amazon’s monthly fee is nada. For now, I’m staying on the sidelines and loving my local library.

    January 29, 2010
    • katykeim #

      I know, I know–$499 is just a start…the wireless charges will add up. I was wondering if ATT would start offering a bundled rate for all devices (phone, touch etc.) I don’t want multiple plans…..

      January 29, 2010
  5. easyreader #

    What do you think about the lack of eInk? What about the weight? I’ve been holding out for this, delaying the purchase of a Kindle. . . .

    February 1, 2010
    • I find the elink kind of distracting….there is all this talk about integrating the mediums and I am just not quite ready for that yet. (e.g. Lots and lots of press about the Vook which integrates video into the text. Which is I thin is amazing for non fiction but would really make me crazy with fiction.) As for the weight, I just need to get the product into my hands to decide. But color would win out over weight any day. But I am shallow that way : )

      February 1, 2010
  6. iWant

    February 1, 2010
  7. Chris #

    The Kindle’s E-Ink doesn’t come in color, but its also not backlit so there’s less eye strain: it’s more like reading a real book and less like staring at a computer monitor. No monthly fee for anywhere wireless connectivity on the Kindle and lots of classic books for free: I love me my Kindle. Though I would want to watch movies on the IPAD.

    February 2, 2010
  8. easyreader #

    Ah, Chris, that’s what I was referring to — Kindle’s e-Ink. I was concerned about iPad’s lack of e-Ink, which I thought might cause eyestrain. Which Kindle do you have?

    February 3, 2010

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  1. I Love You, iPad, But I Don’t Really Need You. « BookSnob.

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