Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Apple eBook Reader should be a large iPhone

moving from my old site underabundant.com
June 29th 2009

I love to read but I know I read immersively somewhat less now -- and I'm in the publishing industry,

-Evan Schnittman, vice president of global business development at Oxford University Press

I don't know if it's coming, but if it is, the Apple eBook reader should be like an iPhone and not like a laptop. What I mean specifically, is that it should be as simple an OS as the iPhone, with single apps running in the foreground and no windowing. I realize that this is detrimental to it as a hand-held computer, and this does somewhat ruin its flow. Likely a table sized computer would be powerful enough to handle Mac OSX and likely that it would be beneficial for it since it would likely be a closer to a macbook (air?) in specifications.

Keeping that in mind though, as an eBook reader, people are going to have as much trouble reading books on the Apple Tablet as they do on their laptops. There would just be too much attraction to go to another window, check emails or Facebook etc. With the iPhone your lack of focus would cause you to pay a tax. It's not a lot, because most apps remember what you last did, but application switching costly time-wise and it makes you think twice. This generally a good thing in most cases. I usually bounce around on my computer, from iTunes to Safari, move files around until I usually can't remember what I was doing.

I usually can read one or two pages of a New York Times article until I feel like I should check my Twitter account. I think this would be a killer for a paid ebook reader. Books are only books, and can you sit and read them with concentration. The Kindle is a single-use device so it pans out to the same thing. However, if Apple is going to come out with its own version I think it might be surprised after people quickly stop using that function of their tablet. This isn't to say that they won't sell, or that people will regret them. It's just that it seems like it wouldn't be able to capture a large-enough percentage of book sales because people might quickly realize they aren't getting any reading done.


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