Do iPad or do I Kindle?


Tom Evans is an author, author mentor, writer’s unblocker and e-publishing wizard. Follow his memes and musings on Twitter @thebookwright

The debate is not about which device is better than the others. It’s about authors and publishers embracing a whole new world of opportunity.

Much has been written over the last 48 hours or so about Apple’s new iPad. Some think it’s the best thing to hit the planet this decade and that it will change the face of publishing. Others are moaning about its bezel and that it doesn’t have a camera. Some are obsessed with the connotations of the word “pad”. Some people should also get a life.

I thought I’d let the dust settle and look at the introduction of the iPad from the perspective of authors and publishers.

As a serial gadgeteer and technophile, even I resisted the temptation to buy an eReader. By the way, when I refer to the Kindle, I am using it generically like Hoover. This applies to the Sony eReader, the Cool-er et al.

As an author, I don’t want an eReader; I want an e-writer too.

The iPad wins hands down on this front. The fact I can surf the Web for research too and Mind Map are other bonuses.

What about battery life and reading it in bright sunlight on a beach? Well I don’t want sand in any of my gadgets and to protect what little street-cred I may have; I’m more comfortable holding a paperback when I get to relax on holiday.

Apple brings more to the party than just screen technology. You get access to the riches borne by an operating system that is 30 years old. Email, word and image processing, calendaring to boot.

The iPad is a boon for a writer.

If all you want to do is read, however, as I predicted in this blog earlier in the year, then ereaders will go sub $100 on eBay this year and this is hard to resist.

With the fabulous e-ink technology, two weeks of battery life is just marvellous. So, if you are a reader and want to dabble in technology, get an ereader.

The biggest opportunity though lies in the user base.

For publishers and authors, the users of the various devices represent a new and growing sales channel.

There are something like 10 million iPhones already with predictions of a further 20 million more this year.

This compares to 2.5 million Kindles and a little less for Sony.

You can even get a Kindle reader for the iPhone which makes things even more complicated for us to get our head around. Will Kindle ever support iBooks though? I think not.

So the smart money is to get as many existing titles in as many formats as possible and to let the user decide how they want to consume the book.

For new titles however, there is a whole new world opening up. From books that can either read to you or be read, or books that contain multimedia elements, Internet content, geo-coded information and merge elements of gaming. Travel books for example will be completely different and contain videos, reviews, local information, the ability to make bookings and the like – all from the app or iBook as they will be known.

So the debate is not about which device is better than the others. It’s about authors and publishers embracing a whole new world of opportunity.

Useful Links:

iPhone stats for 2010

Kindle vs Sony eReader stats

About Author

Tom Evans is a published author and poet who also mentors other authors in the writing and publication process. He is a specialist at curing both writer's and author's blocks - and yes, they are different. He works with clients on a one-to-one basis and runs regular Blockbusting workshops. He teaches the principles of whole brain and whole mind thinking and how to get our minds into the state where they can tap into unlimited creativity. As an BBC trained broadcast engineer, Tom also has an amazing understanding of multimedia and Internet technologies and is a master of the ebook. By ebook, Tom doesn't mean a PDF but a fully immersive work with audio, video, animation and user interactivity. This year he has launched an iPhone application development service for authors and publishers.

1 Comment

  1. I agree in principle to most of what you say here. I blogged about this very same issue on my blog yesterday. But not to be too argumentative, the iPad OS is the exact same as the iPhone and iPod touch. Neither is 30 years old and neither is MAC OS. The iPad does not offer full-feature word processing, even if you throw iWork into the mix. It does allow composing text, but that is about the equivalent to using wordpad or simpletext to write. Just doesn’t cut it in my book.
    The battery is 8 hours of moderate use. Not too great in my book, especially if you do a lot of online researching. Another issue is the LED screen in bright outdoor environments washes out a little (especialy compared to Kindle’s e-ink).
    If they offered a more robust OS, and a much longer battery, it would be a boon to writers and I would be one of the first to try it out.

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