Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Why iPad will kill Kindle

I have a new iPad. I'm not usually an early adopter, partly because I've worked in the technology industry a long time and I wait a revision or two with most things. But I bought an iPad, partly because they're [relatively] cheap.

But this blog post is about reading. I have not done much reading in the past 20 years. I'm not sure why. I read sometimes on airplanes and on vacations, when I don't have my usual infrastructure around me. I buy books, and I love books, but I don't really read that much. I think it's because I'm so interested in so many things that I do things, instead of reading. I have a huge stack of books I'm going to read really soon. Except, of course, I don't.

So I bought an iPad but didn't think I would read books on it. But I've done a lot of work in electronic publishing and I was curious to see how the experience was. I bought a copy of The Tipping Point, partly so Malcolm Gladwell would get a little more money—he's awesome. It's worth pointing out that I have a paperback copy of The Tipping Point sitting on my desk, as I intend to re-read it, since I only got about halfway through the last time I tried, many years ago.

So here's why the Kindle will lose, and the iPad will win....

I have the iPad with me because of all the things it does. I can read my email, do my online banking, or whatever I think needs doing. But I found myself clicking over to read a few pages of The Tipping Point now and then, when facebook was boring and I had no new email. And I've read about 100 pages of The Tipping Point now, to my surprise.

The crux of it is this: if you have to bring something extra with you in case you want to read, you just won't. Maybe you will for a while, but have you ever brought a book on an airplane, in your carry-on, and gotten back home having not even cracked it open, and wondered why you lugged all that weight around the whole trip? You tend not to do it the next time—you leave the book at home.

And that's precisely the point: the book is always with you, because it's not an extra thing to bring, it's just built right into something you'll probably have with you anyway—and it's just a click or two away, if you already have that device in your hand. Or 100 books, for that matter.

This is a game changer for reading, in my opinion. It is working on me, and I'm a tough audience.


Deb said...

Was the iPad a birthday present from you to you?

Anonymous said...

Great! You can read my book on it, if you have the Kindle reader installed:

Happy birthday!

David Siegel

Tim said...

Hey Glenn,

I think I get your point, but you really didn't tell me how the iPad will kill the Kindle. I happen to agree, but why, exactly, will this happen? The Kindle is still pretty damn awesome, even with the introduction of the iPad.

My entire motivation for buying the iPad was to use it to replace my Kindle. I was hoping the reading experience would be at least as good as on the Kindle, and it is. In fact, except for the added weight, it IS better on the iPad. But there ARE tradeoffs. The Kindle wins in battery power. But the iPad wins because it has it's own light source. The Kindle wins because it's a bit lighter. But the iPad wins because it can do so many more things. I figure, I carry the Kindle everywhere but all it can do is provide me a way to read my books. The iPad indeed does that, and it does it with an additional source for content in iBooks. Plus, it does so many more things. I love the photo frame feature, and I'm perfectly happy with wifi only since I can create a wifi hotspot with my iPhone. (it's jailbroken.)

I think the iPad is very cool. Will it kill the Kindle? Yes, I think so. For me, however, I still need my Kindle since my kids have stolen the iPad and don't seem all that eager to give it back.


Glenn Reid said...

Deb, yes, it was kind of a present to myself :)

Glenn Reid said...

Tim, I guess the overall reason I had in mind was the "does so many more things." The other points are far less important I think. The hard part is getting it back from your kids, as you have noted!

Paul said...

I can't get mine off Marcus (age 7) either!