Steve Jobs is a man we all admire and respect. Even when he says something, well, dumb. Back in January of 2008 Steve told a NY Times reporter that “… American’s have stopped reading.” Steve cited this as the reason the Amazon Kindle would fail. In the past year and half the Kindle has been selling pretty well. But it gets even better: E-book readers from Amazon and Barns & Noble are popular applications for the iPhone. There are over 40o book-related applications available for download on Apple’s App Store. One of my favorites is the Kindle for iPhone.
I don’t own a physical Kindle. I don’t need a another electronic device. All the sockets on my power strip are filled! The iPhone is my phone, emailer, broswer, PIM, GPS, notebook, music player, camera, and now e-book reader. While I don’t agree with Steve that Americans have stopped reading I do agree that that specialized single function harward like the Kindle has a dim future. Kindle software, and book readers in general, on small multifunctional devices like the iPhone have a bright future.
Since I downloaded the Kindle software I’ve bought and read 6 digital books in 60 days. But here’s the important point–I would not have read these books otherwise. I don’t get a lot of traditional time to read between a busy startup and a house full of kids. With the iPhone I can read while waiting on a line at the pharmacy, or while sitting on a stalled train somewhere between Newark and New York, or while waiting for soccer practice to fishing up.
When I was younger (by several decades) I used to carry around a paperback book on the off chance that I’d get a moment to read it. These days I don’t have the time to think that far ahead. Downloading and reading books on the iPhone is just so damn convenient it has replaced Blocked as my favorite time biding activity.
The only real issue is Amazon’s digital supply of Nebula Award winners is running dry. Some important books from the list, The Quantum Rose, Parable of the Talents, Forever Peace, and Moon and Sun, are tragically missing. I’m anxious to download Barns & Noble’s Bookstore reader and see if they can pick up the digital slack.