Why wait for an Apple eReader when the iPhone is already here?

iPhone
Image by William Hook

The iPhone has been grabbing my attention. As if to reinforce the now undoubtable shift in the publishing paradigm, it seems that the number of books being published as apps on the iPhone is growing … fast. Book apps releases in the appstore overtook game apps for the first time ever. 20% of the apps released in September were books. It seems publishers and indie authors are not waiting for the mooted Apple eReader, the one that’s easy on the eyes and the batteries (… yada, yada …), but rather are willing to take advantage of another distribution channel for eBooks here are now. And why not? There are, no doubt, more iPhones than eReaders out there. There’s a huge user base who scan the appstore everyday. Sure, there is eReader software like Stanza on the iPhone, but I can see the attraction of a custom app in terms of its attention, customization, regular updates, linked interactive content, options for free/purchase content, etc. I’m not the only one.

There’s early adopter advantage to be had here. After all, where is an Apple eReader likely to get its content? Are they likely to do a content distribution deal with a competitor like Amazon who have their own eReader to shift? I don’t think so. Maybe Google? Or Stanza. Or will they open up a bookstore of their own, just like they’ve done for every device they’ve made recently. Perhaps. The answer might be simpler than that. It wouldn’t surprise me that many of the books will just come from the appstore anyway, and run on the eReader as they would on the iPhone.

Perhaps its time to dust of my programming skills and write my first iPhone app. As I know from writing software for other handhelds, its not trivial — beyond the ken of most authors. Maybe I should make the fruits of that effort available to other authors and publishers too? Well, let’s see where it goes – that’s pretty much the mantra for the whole publishing business right now.

1 comment November 3rd, 2009


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