The Problem With iBooks – The Platform Is Very Limited

The last 10 or so books I’ve read have all been on my Kindle. Not only are we a 2-Kindle family but I can show you that I’ve actually saved money on these devices. Every time I pick up a business book that retails at least fifteen bucks more for the dead tree edition, I realize this isn’t just a convenience issue, it’s a monetary one. And, yes, I make use of the iPhone app as well – but it is hardly the experience I want or need. And, friends, don’t knock e-ink until you’ve read a few books on it.

Side note: on my desk are a few books that only come in print and I can’t, for the moment, pull myself to even crack open.

So, Apple comes out with the iPad and the very cool looking iBooks option. We hear stories of magazines jumping on board quickly and we have something very interesting here. Embedded below is a YouTube Playlist:

At the point I wrote this, the best facts I could find about the iBooks included 1 simple fact that needs to be examined. Again, at the time of writing (3/1/2010), here’s what we know: iBooks only works on the iPad. Kindle products work on the iPad, the iPhone, PCs (Macs coming soon), and Blackberries. In short, my options are to read my stuff on every screen I own, or only one of the screens I own. I can also publish TODAY to the Kindle Network – but that’s another post all together. Obviously there are no details on that, but I don’t see it coming any time soon.

Now if I buy music through iTunes, I can play it on anything (including that Zune). If I buy a television show or movie, I can play it on any of my registered devices in the house (including my iPad).

So, yes, this is a revision 1 release – actually a pre revision 1 release but, right now, iBooks do nothing for me.

So, I ask this question, is the concept of iBooks doing anything for you? Is this something independent content developers should be considering? I guess I don’t get what they’re bringing to the table yet that, simply, isn’t provided much better on the Kindle.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • KimDushinski

    Wow. I had no idea that iBooks could only be read on the iPad while Kindle's stuff can go to other platforms. That is really interesting.

    For me one of the huge must-have's is whether or not I can put PDF ebooks on the device. Frankly, that is the main reason I want an ereader is to deal with the thousands of pages of PDF files I cannot stand reading on my computer and don't want to print out.

  • nancyseeger

    I recall reading the iBooks publications would use an open source format ePub which is more likely to satisfy the Publisher's that held out from Kindle on objections it was to proprietary.

    I think Apple has a better chance of getting all of the publishers on board in the long run. Kindle is great but hasn't been successful in winning all the publishers over.

  • paulcolligan

    i'm sure the ipad will support pdfs in the browser like the iphone does – could that work for you?

  • paulcolligan

    yes, it will use ePub – but ePub with their DRM wrapped around it. don't have a problem with drm – have a problem with only being able to use it on a single device.

  • kathylane

    I thought the ibook platform offered interactivity functions you can't get on the kindle. for instance, we are looking at books with fillable forms, which we think we can do using the ipad. .

    I was also told that all of my iphone ebooks will work on the ipad.

  • cindybattye

    I did hear that Apple might be considering banning any applications that allow you to view kindle books – as retaliation and self preservation, but for us it's not really going to bother us.

    We will still use our kindle, 'cause it's much nicer to read with the whole ink thing – as opposed to the backlit screen, but will get an ipad too – 'cause we like gadgets, and this one looks sexy!!

  • paulcolligan

    don't know about the interactive elements – do you have a reference for that.

    yes, all iphone ebooks should work on your ipad – but not all ipad ebooks will work on your iphone, or kindle, or desktop, etc.

  • paulcolligan

    i really truly doubt apple will ban the kindle app from the ipad.

    and you're right on reading on eink – so much better.

  • Stan Dubin

    I've read a bit using the Kindle ap on my iPhone and it's okay when I'm in line at the grocery store. The Kindle itself is much, much better and if left on an island with only a few devices (and uninterrupted access), then the Kindle is going to need to be one of them.

    Reading an iBook on the iPad is going to be bigger, brighter and have the capability to do fancy things: audio, video BUT the easy-on-the-eyes feature will probably still be secured by the Kindle. For now.

    And Paul, you mentioned on the most recent “Internet Marketing This Week” podcast that you had trouble remembering the 70s. It appears I may be a bit older than you, because the statement I've heard (and used) is “if you remember the 60s, you weren't there.”

  • paulcolligan

    Yeah Kindle App for iPhone is only good for small bursts.

    Wasn't there in the 60s 😉

  • Coffee of the Month Club

    iPad has many flaws that is need to be fixed. I hope Apple will comply to the complains of the people that purchase this product.