Apple’s iPad: Next E-reader?

4 Feb

The iPad is the latest Apple product coming to stores this April. The iPad does not have a set function like the iPhone or iPod do, which may leave some buyers wondering the purpose of the iPad. While the product will be able to play music, connect to the Internet, and use all of the applications that Apple has created over the past years as well as applications coming out specifically made for the iPad, the most interesting function is the use of the iPad as an e-reader.

With Amazon coming out with newer versions of the Kindle, Barnes and Noble introducing the Nook and other brand names creating their own version of an e-reader, the iPad’s ability to be used as an e-reader adds Apple to the race of electronic books. The iPad has an iBook application and with this application comes the books of five of the six largest publishing companies: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon and Schuster. Apple has guaranteed these publishers control over the price of the e-books, which they were not given with Amazon’s Kindle. While books for the Kindle are typically $9.99 or less, books available on the iPad will range from $12.99 to $14.99 for general fiction and bestsellers. The world’s largest publishing house, Random House, did not sign on to the iPad, though talks with Apple are still ongoing.

Apple is hoping the development of the iBook application will increase its sales, and direct the consumers who buy e-books through the Apple Store to buy them with the intent of using the iPad and not another e-reader. Apple believes its negotiations with the publishing houses will cause the publishers to withhold specific titles from Amazon if Amazon does not raise its selling price from $9.99 to at least $12.99, making it one of the sole distributors for e-books. However, if publishers withdrew titles, legal complications might arise if Amazon claims the publishers are dictating prices to retailers which was made illegal according to a decision made by the Supreme Court in 2007.

Amazon executives believe there will not be an issue in competing with the iPad because while the iPad has more functions than a Kindle, Amazon hopes consumers will find it too distracting and will want to resort back to the Kindle in order to find the similar experience of reading a physical book in a quiet, solitary atmosphere. Russ Wilcox, head of E Ink Corp, which created digital paper technology for most e-readers said, “If you like your kids, get them an iPad so they can play games. If you love them, get them an e-reader so they can actually read.”

The debate between iPad and Kindle continues, as book bloggers, readers, and the public discuss which one is better. While it is too soon to tell which one people will prefer, the topic does make an interesting debate when looking at the pros and cons for each of them. For the people who prefer physical books to e-books, all of the talk about which e-book is better is little more than interesting gossip. They are just interested in seeing the next innovative device companies will try to create to compete with the simplicity of actual books.



3 Responses to “Apple’s iPad: Next E-reader?”

  1. Norbert February 8, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    Hello, I am now a few months ago and must say that I am very satisfied. To me it makes a lot of fun to read English books to the Kindle.


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