Would You Like Some Books with that Broadband Deal?
iPhone eBooks via Stanza

One Click Away from Abandoning My Kindle

Iphone 3G I'm not reading books on it, at least not regularly.  The two things I do most frequently with my Kindle are read The New York Times and catch up on RSS feeds via KindleFeeder.  And while those two services hardly justify the $360 price tag (let alone the $13.99/month Times subscription), it's my iPhone (once again) that's bringing me closer to the end of my Kindle infatuation.

The only thing preventing me from abandoning the Kindle entirely (and passing it down to my wife) is one very simple feature that's missing from The New York Times iPhone app: All I need it to do is pull down the entire paper so that I can read it offline, on a plane or anywhere else that I don't have a live connection.  The Kindle does that nicely but the iPhone app forces you to click and access one article at a time.

The Times iPhone app would be complete if they'd just add a simple button to let me quickly pull down today's entire edition.  I'm not even looking to store multiple editions...today's and today's alone would be just fine!  In fact, I'd gladly pay $5, $10, $20 or more for that capability (as a one-time fee, not a monthly fee).  Why?  It would enable me to dump the $13.99/month Kindle subscription.

Why isn't there a Premium version of the app that offers this functionality?  Surely they're not afraid of cannibalizing sales of the Kindle edition.  Did I recently read that more than 30 million iPhones have been sold?  Even the most ambitious sales projections for the Kindle put it well below 1 million.  Why not get a fraction of that 30 million base even if you completely lose the less than 1 million Kindle owners?  And they could include plenty of advertising (like the USA Today app does so nicely, I might add).


Newt Barrett

Say it ain't so,Joe! What about reading books? As for me, I subscribed to FT on the K but have been skipping it lately. I get 80 pct of my periodical reading done on the K-- all free.

Newt Barrett

Oops! On the iPhone, I meant to say but it's really early.


Having both a Kindle and an iPhone, I can't imagine reading on my iPhone. The screen is too small and the battery can't hold a candle to my Kindle. But, if you aren't reading books at all and only using it to read an occasional paper or feed, I can see how it might be nice to not have to carry around the Kindle. That said, my Kindle is still the best money I've ever spent.

David Crotty

Daring Fireball (http://daringfireball.net/) has the number of iPhones sold at a total of 17 million. But that ignores the tens of millions of iPod Touch's sold as well, which have similar functionality when connected via Wi-Fi.


I read everything on the iPhone when I'm away from my laptop. I use Stanza - it's free. As for the New York Times - if they understook Economics 101, the Times wouldn't be in the straits they are in today.

Mark Jeffrey

I have sold WAY more books on the iPhone than the Kindle. From an author point of view, the iPhone is way where the action is, totally agree with you.

Len Edgerly

Joe, I notice that you posted this dramatic post here and not at Kindleville, which perhaps you'll abandon, too, if you take that fateful one click and abandon your Kindle. If so, I'll miss it, because Kindleville has been a long-running, reliable source of information and insight.
For me, if someone took away my Kindle and said I'd have to read everything on my iPhone, which I love dearly for many uses, I'd reluctantly go back to print.
Maybe Kindle 2.0 will make a believer of you again, especially if it turns out that Bezos DID read your open letter and told his team to implement all the changes you suggested!

Marko Samastur

Actually, NY iPhone/Touch application automatically downloads all its content if it's opened long enough and can then be read offline at leisure. Just tested it again by switching wifi off.

You have to go to Settings to set how many previous days you want to keep.

Joe Wikert

Marko, I haven't had any luck getting the entire edition to download as you describe. When you say "if it's opened long enough," do you mean you have to leave the app open on your iPhone for some period of time before it completely downloads the full edition? I just see the app grabbing articles as I click them and no other download activity happens if I'm not clicking...

Jorge Olson


I think the Kindle is a very noble attempt at a technology that is just waiting to take over publishing. It will probably stay at that, a noble attempt. With all the new technology and phone platforms available the world is moving toward a multiple-usage device. This could be a phone or a new small laptop or even a new type of small laptop, maybe a "knew top" with built in readers and a phone and a radio and more… I'm getting excited now.

I guess we'll have to wait, or write about it and inspire engineers to hurry it up.



What I'm outraged about is that the new T.C. Boyle novel coming out next week is $15+! WTF? An ominous sign that $9.99 is not the ceiling but will eventually become the floor!

Miriam parker

I agree with you Joe, I would be willing to pay a monthly fee to get the Times delivered to my iPhone esp. since I live in a place where the old-fashioned paper is hard to come by.

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