There was a rather uninformed article posted yesterday on eWeek.com. The author argues that the iPad is competing with the Kindle, Nook for the reading market:
With April’s release of the Apple iPad, and recent software and hardware upgrades for both Amazon.com’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook, the battle for the ereader market is well and truly joined. Each of those three companies seems equally determined to match the others on a number of competitive fronts, from bookstore size to device features.
The problems with that paragraph are legion. Let me show you the most obvious:
- The $500 iPad is competing with a $150 ereaders.
- The iPad is in competition with the apps running on it.
- The iPad (available in less than 20 countries) is competing with the Kindle, which is available in 140.
- iBooks (with less than 100k titles) is a serious competitor to the Kindle Store (greater than 500k titles).
And then he goes on to argue that this ereader price war is supposed to kill off Google Editions:
According to the plan, Google Editions would make some 400,000 e-books available to Web-enabled devices such as laptops, tablet PCs, and smartphones. Those volumes would be purchasable directly from Google, via the Google Checkout system. And whereas Amazon and its current rivals offer e-books in a proprietary format, the search engine giant’s own e-bookstore would theoretically offer more freedom over where and how its e-books could be read.
But the longer Google waits to roll out Google Editions (and the longer it neglects to provide details about how the service will work, in order to build the all-important buzz) the harder its eventual battle against Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Apple, all of which have been moving aggressively to draw readers to their respective platforms. In that context, Google’s chances of breaking off a substantial portion of the e-book market seem dimmer and dimmer by the week.
It’s fairly safe to assume that GE will have unique content, and it probably will be device independent (you’ll read books in your browser). Here’s the thing about unique content: adding it to the market grows the market.