Twitter Thoughts...Second Time Around
eDevices: Another Reader's Perspective

The Future of Dedicated eBook Readers

Binoculars BusinessWeek recently published an insightful article called Move Over Kindle; eBooks Hit Cell Phones.  After reading it I feel I need to make a confession: My enthusiasm for the Kindle has dramatically shifted to the iPhone.  There.  I said it.  It feels good to come clean.

Don't forget that I'm the guy who was so bullish on the Kindle that I started a separate blog dedicated to it.  I'm not suggesting Kindleville is going away, but I do wish I would have jumped on the Apple bandwagon earlier and created iPhoneville instead!

Think about it.  Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla but their numerous missteps (e.g., proprietary model, poor inventory management, no brick-and-mortar presence, high price, lack of an innovative pricing model, etc.) have prevented them from shutting the door on Sony.  Sony, for cryin' out loud...the company that completely dropped the ball in the consumer electronics world!

So now while Sony is still hanging in there just fine, thank you very much, quite a few prospective customers are starting to realize the smartphone they already own is a better alternative to a $300+ dedicated e-reader.  I was a skeptic till I got an iPhone a couple of months ago.  Even though the book selection is very limited in the AppStore, I'd be hard-pressed to buy a Kindle now that I have an iPhone.  In fact, I had been planning to buy the next generation Kindle that's rumored to appear next year but I doubt I will now.  Again, this is coming from one of the Kindle's biggest advocates!

I still don't agree with Steve Jobs and his comment that "people don't read anymore."  But wouldn't it be ironic if his platform turned out to be the winner in the e-content battle?  After all, he's the guy who's shown the least interest in this sector and yet he now seems to have all the momentum.

Why do I get the feeling Amazon has implemented the equivalent of a "prevent defense", playing "not to lose"?  Both those approaches often lead to upsets and that's exactly what it will be if the Kindle fails at the expense of the iPhone.



As an owner of both an iPhone using Stanza, and a Kindle, there are definitely pros and cons to each. Ultimately, I prefer to read on the Kindle, due to the larger page size, and the flat matte screen. It's much easier on my eyes, and very comfortable for reading in bed.

If Stanza had designed the Kindle interface, I think it would be the perfect reading device. The Kindle's programmers still have a lot to learn.

Carolyn Jewel

I have an iPhone and I think it's pretty unlikely I'll get a Kindle or other reader. They're just too expensive when I already have a device that works very well.

I agree with your assessment, Joe.

Alastair Sweeny

Right now I think Bezos is providing the best possible experience based on current technology and networks. With higher speed and tech advances future Kindles will be able to handle color, multimedia, full Web links and other superbook features. I have no doubt these machines are on the way from Amazon. The choke point is the ability of the carriers to handle all this traffic at high speeds.

Apple, with its mastery of the mobile Web, no doubt sees its iTunes universe in Amazon's cross hairs, and it will move to meet the challenge in the years ahead. Look for iPhone features in other (larger) form factors. One may be coming in the next few days at MacWorld Expo.

Other participants in the growing superphone universe will be Nokia and RIM.


For me, the killer feature of the iPhone (or Android, or the new Palm Pre) as an e-reader is that I already have it with me. A Kindle is one more device to carry, to keep charged, to worry about dropping, etc.

More thoughts on this at


Personally I own all three devices, my order of preference for reading would be Sony reader, Kindle, followed by iPhone. I first bought a Kindle since I was always on the computer working, and already had a large quantity of electronic content I needed to read, both for business and relaxation. But as the number of files on my device started piling up, it was getting too inconvenient to search for what I wanted on the Kindle. So after researching I bough a Sony reader (505), I was immediately hooked, while their collections feature is far from perfect (single level folder), it does make organizing your content much easier, and at least to me, the Sony reader both seems more responsive and provides a longer battery life.

The reason I prefer either of these readers over the iPhone isn't due to ease of use. As I mentioned I'm on the computer all day, working either from home or at a client site, for someone who then spends easily another 2 hours a day reading, the dedicated reading devices are simply much easier on the eyes (for the curious, this is not due to age, I'm under 30).

As to color, web content and wireless speed. I see this as the replacement to carrying around multiple books or 100 or more pages of hard copy I need to print. I don't generally need color, for web content I can just use my laptop, and I have no problem connecting my device to download content I've batch converted (using calibre), yes better wireless would be nice, but I hardly consider it a deal breaker. So I suppose it's all in your reader needs as far as which you will prefer.

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