The Kindle and now the iPad, are real books doomed?

I often joke with my iPhone addicted friends that we live in a world with too many apps.

“Too many apps!” I scream at them, as they consult the palm sized device for everything and anything. Since the phone’s debut in 2007, there have been 140,000 apps designed to educate and entertain, and when I learned of a virtual Zipppo lighter app, so you can hold your phone up at concerts during rocker ballads, I nearly lost it.

Yesterday, Apple unveiled their latest techo gadget the iPad, which is basically an oversized iPhone that will allow people to carry all their movies, music, magazines, newspapers, books and the Web itself in a briefcase.

Even though the iPad won’t hit shelves for another few months it is already being touted as the best new e-reader.

With a 9.7 inch screen, the iPad is basically the size of a book, but at .5 inches thick, it’s one of the skinniest bookstore around. Oh wait, the Kindle by Amazon is only .36 inches thick, but it doesn’t have a color screen, and we all know how important color is when it comes to reading.

Amazon kicked off the e-reader phenomenon when they released the Kindle in 2007, and bookstore everywhere held their breath as more and more people realized it was easier to have a $9.99 novel you could tuck in your purse, as opposed to a $25 hardcover that barely fits in a gym bag.

With two heavy hitters looking to dominate the e-reader business, consumers can expect that Apple and Amazon will be trying to undercut each other on price, and it’s rumored that Amazon will get on the bandwagon and start designing their own apps as well.

“It’s the wave of the future,” everyone keeps saying. “It’s what our kids will use as books.”

Okay, I get that this is all forward momentum. Anyone remember cassette tapes? Yea, don’t see many of those around anymore.

Although this new technology may be exciting for the consumer, I would be scared as hell as an author. Now that things have gone digital, it’s only a matter of time before people find a way to get the goods for free. Just look at the music industry, remember how mad Metallica got when Napster came out?

According to the Association of American Publishers, there were 9 million illegal downloads of copyright-protected books in the closing months of 2009, and one can only expect that number to increase.

But, can you really curl up with a computer screen on a snowy day with a cup of tea? Or dog-ear the pages of your Kindle? Am I the only one who loves the smell of bookstores?

If this is the wave of the future, I am going to start stockpiling all my favorite books now. Who knows what reading will be like 30 years from now….

“Grandma, what are those things on your shelves?”

“Those are called books, honey.” 

“So, they don’t play movies?

Makes me think.

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2 responses to “The Kindle and now the iPad, are real books doomed?

  1. Alot of bloggers aren’t very pleased with this new iPad.There was 2 much hoopla regarding it and alot blogers got turned off.Thing is, I for one see some of the awesome potential uses of this gadget. Third-party apps for doing tunes, games, newspapers and magazines and FFS books, tons of good stuff, but IMHO they failed to sell it very well (aside from the books). It feels kinda unfinished

    • gypsyjournalist

      Can’t argue that the iPad has plenty of potential and will most likely change how we think about accessing media. Only time will tell if journalists and writers will get on board and see the change as beneficial to the industry.

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