iPhone eBooks: future of reading

January 17, 2009

iPhone or IPod Touch eBooks: future of readingThe iPhone and the iPod Touch (left out of the heading for space reasons) are the ideal machines for reading E books. Much better in my experience than any dedicated reader I have tested. This is going to have to be a personal account for there is no other way to write it. My apologies.

The Sony reader, which was possibly the first, never took off simply because it was slow in turning pages, was not easy to load books onto and was quite expensive. It still exists at $300, but there are no long lines around the block to buy it. Although I fly more than most people I have never seen one being used in the air. Or, indeed, anywhere else except in sales demonstrations.

The same applies to the Amazon Kindle. There is an amazing PR campaign to suggest that the Kindle has sold in uncountable numbers. Uncountable because Amazon has never given an accurate report on how many it has sold.

Aaron Pressman in BusinessWeek on November 19 wrote: ‘Kindle will be the iPod of books — you read it here first.’ And, as it happens, last.

In January last year the Amazon Kindle forum had the amazing message: ‘I would guess that the numbers are smaller than one might expect.’

Eric Schonfel on August 1 on TechCrunch said the figure was 240,000. And Scott Devitt, an analyst (not a job description currently viewed with great favor) at Stifel, Nicolaus predicted that Amazon is on track to sell 500,000 to 750,000 more Kindles over the next year.

If Kindle has sold half a million I would be astounded. Gobsmacked. Quite seriously amazed.

In competition the iPhone and the iPod Touch have together sold millions. Reading books inflight the Apple machine is close to ideal. To start off with it is one less thing to buy, one less to carry.
Before we start I have to admit that one of my iPod Touch machines has gone through JailBreak and I can load on it any damn thing I want.

This is not to say that I advocate JailBreak to readers. It is an individual choice and I am told there are dangers although I have never experienced them.

There are approximately one million books in text form on the Internet.

First of all there is Project Gutenberg which has 27,000 books already in text and proofread. At the moment I am reading Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Typically on my iPod Touch I have four or five books awaiting my pleasure.

You can, of course, go the official way and download eReader.

It is free and reads:

EReader allows you to read premium eBook content right on your iPhone from top book authors. Over 20,00 e-books available at top eBook Retailers like eReader.com and Fictionwise.com.

The problem is the price for the books is pretty damn nearly the same for standard paperbacks and that is not quite what I had in mind. Luckily I am not a fan of books with titles like SuperHealth: 6 Simple Steps, 6 Easy Weeks, 1 Longer, Healthier Life so I stay well away.

The only book I am happy, nay delighted to pay for is David Pogue’s iPhone: The Missing Manual, Second Edition iPhone App. He is the computer editor of the New York Times and the book only costs $4.99.

You can see a neat demonstration an iPhone working as a book on You Tube.

And there is another demonstration on downloading another stack of books in .pdf on You Tube.

True, there are some minor obstacles put in the way of you using either your iPhone or iPod Touch as a reading machine. But the obstacles are small and the rewards great. Never forget that a good book is the lifeblood of the master spirit.

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