iPad vs Kindle

January 31, 2012

One steaming hot July 4th I ended up waiting for a transfer at Dallas Airport.

That day in 2007 I saw a Kindle for the first time. I was in the transfers section of the airport for six long hours.

There were ads for the device on the transfer side, but the shop selling it was in the regular departures side. I looked longingly through the glass at the Kindle.

I flew out of Dallas that day, with fireworks exploding in the rouge Texas twilight sky. But with no Kindle in my hand.

I have to admit, I still do not own a Kindle. By the time they arrived in the UK the economy had bombed and I was less keen on buying gadgets.

Now tablet computers have really come into their own. The iPad does so much more than display books – it costs a lot more than the Kindle too. But the Kindle only shows text.

I am thinking it is now time I put right the injustice of Independence Day in Dallas* and got my hands on a digital reader (I do have a Kindle app on my android phone, but the screen can only display about three paragraphs at a time). But the BIG question is:

Kindle or iPad ?????

Advice please…

(*I have been in the USA for Independence Day twice and may describe the other time at some point…)

Apple is launching an app for designing textbooks. These will be content rich experiences.

Apparently the cost will be capped at $14.99 and you will be able to buy individual chapters for a lower price.

This will save schools and colleges (and students!) an absolute fortune. The costs historically in publishing has always been in the paper, printing, distribution and storing. All of this is quickly vanishing as the traditional book (printed paper) starts to disappear being replaced by eBooks in their many forms.

The world of publishing is changing rapidly and the iPad in my humble opinion may do more to speed this up than the Kindle )altho, I may be proved wrong in the end, but on the evidence so far, the iPad is winning).

The latest piece of evidence is called The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris and appears to be much more than just a book. Thanks to the iPad it is part open world game, part movie, part educational tool and probably many more things beside. And it has apparently outsold Angry Birds, which is something of an achievement.

An article in The Times (which I won’t link to due to Rupurt’s paywall) says that in the future it is possible this book “will be regarded as one of the most influental titles of the early 21st century.” High praise indeed (altho taken with a pinch of salt as Rupurt isn’t great when it comes to the internet – remember MySpace?)

One of the key points of interest here is that the book was not written by a single person, nor a collaboration of a pair or small group of people, no this was created using a studio method – I can only compare this to the gaming world where once games were produced by single coders in their back bedrooms whereas now they are produced by huge studios.

Perhaps the historic lone writer who works in a room cut off from the world to produce his masterpiece will disappear as books are produced in studios with huge development budgets…

An analysis of the iPad magazine market, which highlights the ongoing issues publishers are having with the jump from print to tablet.

With thanks to my old friend Dave for pointing this out to me.

If you go forward to around 2 hours 50 mins there is a piece about the author David Eagleman.

(This is a link to a BBC radio programme, so will disappear after a week unfortunately,  see my earlier comments on broadcasters approach to having their back catalogue online).

This author has published an iPad book which has lots of graphs / images and can be read from any chapter (he speaks of a Random Access Chapter device, which I assume is named to remind us of how RAM works). The book sounds like the kind of future I have been talking about for publishing, and in fact probably goes further than I have thought – the chapters can and will be updated as time goes on to ensure they remain relevant.

He also talks about the importance of sources for his work and highlights the use of hyperlinks to confirm what he is saying (which is exactly what bloggers do all the time, so I am not too surprised by this).

The interview is not a great one – would a BBC interviewer have asked any other author a question about how readers can trust what is being said in this new format – just the sort of material which will be replayed in half a century and people will laugh at how stupid the questions were as all books are made that way in 2060.

This blog is about the influence on publishing of what David Eagleman has done – you may also want to have a look at his website and get the book (Why The Net Matters: How the Internet Will Save Civilization) as the topic itself is quite interesting to (may blog about it once I have had a good look at what he says)

If you own a Kindle (which, along with the Apple iPad) is the future of publishing, you can now own a digital copy of my first novel for much less than the paperback RRP of £7.

Depending on the conversion rate of the dollar (the Kindle store is driven from the US at present) the UK price should be about £2.

In my opinion the future of books is digital, but to survive this format should cost much less than buying a physical book.

Bearing in mind there is no cost for printing, distribution from printer to store, no storage cost, no cost of owning the store, paying the staff to  stock the shelves and man the tills – there is no justifiable business model (apart from excessive greed, which I guess isn’t actually justifiable) which would allow publishers to charge the same for their eBooks as for the physical versions.

Standalone digital readers

September 22, 2010

Amazon seem to be leading the way in the standalone reader category.

Compared to its rivals the Kindle seems the most affordable starting at £109.

Altho you can get a Sony eReader for under £150 at the moment.

My big concern about the standalone reader is that you’ll end up carrying this device as well as (at least) a mobile phone. (most people don’t carry a camera around anymore as their mobile phone has this covered for the everyday user)

The by word in the electronics industry has been “convergence” for as long as I can remember.

The Apple iPad is going in the right direction, but probably needs to also be an actual phone to get closer to being the finished article. I understand there has also been an issue with Flash, but word is a patch is underway.

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