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.
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.”
(The entire Jobs keynote can be found here).