In a live TV interview MCGRAW-HILL’s CEO confirmed that Apple will introduce an iPhoneOS based tablet device. He also mentioned that MCGRAW-HILL has been working with Apple for quite some time.
Today I got an email notification of the release of a Zinio application for the iPhone. For those of you that haven’t run across Zinio, it is a visually oriented digital reader software. It was primarily focused on magazines but has been diversifying into books and textbooks.
Zinio offers a very compelling reading experience with full colored digital magazines that look pretty much the same as they do on paper, including some nice age turning visual effects. While they do seem to offer more than one viewing mode, with a text only mode which seems designed to make it easy to read on a small screen, the whole thing begs for a larger screen.
With the release of this application coming just one week before Apple’s media event it might just be that this application is an early release for the iPhone of an application that was already developed for Apple’s supposed new Tablet like device. It would make sense for Apple to seek out a content provider such as Zinio which can bring into the iPhone/iPod platform hundreds of highly regarded titles such as BusinessWeek, Newsweek, Popular Science, MacWorld, PCWorld, PC Magazine, etc.
A quick look at Zinio’s website will get you a view of the new Zinio Library software which looks very much like iTunes, though it is probably just a convenient way of having millions of iPhone users familiar with how your software works.
What do you think?
I love my traditional, paper, books as much as any other book lover does. Holding a reading device while sitting in a confortable armchair doesn’t really equal sitting in the same chair with a nice, original, book in your hands…
But… Let’s get real about it… We’re in a changing world. There are too many of us, placing too much strain on our environment. Our climate is changing and it doesn’t seem to be for the better. Can we really justify the continued use of paper books when they are not necessary?
Over the past four years I must have purchased somewhere around twenty paperback or hardcover books. During the same period, I have certainly aquired more than one hundred and fifty eBooks and some ten audiobooks. While the overall phisical experiece might be different, my enjoyment of the works themselves was not diminshed at all. In this last month alone I read over ten eBooks and listned to six audiobooks.
If you haven’t yet started to make the move to electronic, you should try it. Do your little bit to help reduce climate change by reading in electronic books, using a low power device such as a Kindle, a Sony Reader or on your iPod or iPhone.
Stanza seems to be a generally well regarded ebook reader for the iPhone and iPod Touch. As it is available for both Windows and OS X, it attracted my attention. First I downloaded it on my MacBook but it is so minimalistic that it just seemed incomplete to me. As if development had been abruptly halted before the product was ready.
As I ran into the snag that Baen sells some pre-release texts only in formats which are incompatible with the eReader software which I regularly used, I decided to give Stanza a chance again. I bought the books from Baen and started reading the first one of them. My opinion hasn’t changed much, though. Now, more than before, I have a feeling that the software isn’t really ready for mainstream usage, though it seemed promising. I say that it seemed so, in the past tense, because it seems that the company behind the software has been acquired by Amazon, which already has more than one initiative in this area.
In the next days I’m planning on trying out Stanza on my iPod to see if, on that platform, it lives up to my, maybe exaggerated, expectations.
I’m currently right in the middle of the process of setting up an apartment for my family to move to, within this month. As I have a sizable collection of books, the question of how and where to store them came boiling up as I realized that while I’m moving to a larger apartment, it’s got no bookcases.
This got me into thinking about my book reading and buying habits over the last few years. It seems that it wasn’t without reason that I decided to write about eBooks as the vast majority of the books I’ve read over the past four or five years where ebooks. The great exception here are the books I buy while traveling abroad, to read during the flights.
At home, it seems, I not only prefer to read on my iPod, but I difficulty reading a normal. I guess that the fact that I’m always very busy writing a post for one my blogs, an article or a book makes my family consider my book reading time as being a good chance to get some more interaction with dad. (Which I guess is totally valid reasoning.)
While ebooks don’t require bookcases and therefore aren’t really troubling me for this imminent move, their portability is still quite a bit of a nuisance. I’ve got a large number of titles in Mobipocket format, but Mobipocket is dragging its feet on support for the platforms I now use: iPod/iPhone and OS X. Sure, I can get around the OS X through the use of the Windows version within a Virtual Machine, but not such work around is available for my iPod.
On the other hand, the regular books are very much on my mind now. I have the habit of giving away my non-fiction books, but I totally refuse to part with the fiction ones. I guess, the next time I go looking for an apartment I should consider the need to have a library. 🙂
One of the first things I did after I got an iPod Touch was to install eReader on it. Actually, it might have been the first application I installed, though I can’t be totally sure.
I have been reading books electronically for a long time as I have always been a big believer that this is the inevitable future of books. I’ve read a lot of books on my PocketPC and on notebooks and now that I’ve got some on the iPod I feel we are getting closer to what I used to envision for this technology back in 1997.
Back then I set out to create both an ebook reading and a creation software. I was certain that the future was all about buying books on the Internet and immediatelly downloading them to your reading device. As these devices were not immediatelly available I was writing a PC version of what I though the device should do. It was a lot of fun, even though it didn’t really go anywhere as we were not able to raise capital to really startup the busines.
Still, this early experience, and the fact that I just “believed” that this was the future, made me follow advances in this area closely and made an early adopter out of me. Through these years I’ve always maintained that what was really needed was a device that was light and thin, but that still had a big enough screen to be confortable to hold and read.
The Kindle DX is a step in the right direction, as far as screen sizes go, but it is also a step in the wrong direction in respect to price and functionality. If I am going to carry a device of tha size around and pay that much for it, I expect it to do a lot more than allow me to read.
The iPhone and the iPod Touch are a step in the right direction in regards to the functionality of the device and even in regards to price, but still have a small screen. Now, if Apple only released a Kindle sized device with the capabilities of the iPod Touch we would be just about where we need to be get the masses to really take to reading electronic editions.
Amazon is definitely playing it smart in releasing Kindle for the iPhone. From what information I’ve been able to get it seems that the first implementation of the software is still a bit “plain”, but this is a huge step forward.
Lets look at how this is good for readers first. To start out, if you own an iPhone (not sure if the iPod touch will work as well) you’ll be able to read Kindle books without having to buy a Kindle. Considering the price of a Kindle, this is surely the cheapest way to get started with Amazon ebooks. The Kindle for iPhone application is free.
Readers from outside the US might be able to order ebooks from Amazon, while previously they surely couldn’t as the Kindle is only sold in the US. (I would guess that this would be a big plus for Amazon too.) Also, though I’m sure many people take their Kindles on the road, speacilly on long trips, just about everyone carries their phones everywhere. This means that readers will be able to read more, in situations in which it would not have been possible too so before. (Oh, I guess this could be considered a plus for Amazon too. Hummm, there seems to be a pattern emerging here.) Having the Kindle for iPhone sych your reading position with your Kindle is a big one too, as you can more confortably read on the Kindle’s larger (and easier on the eyes) screen when you get home.
Now for Amazon, everything about this is a great move. They get more readers, readers reading more and consequently probably buying more books. At the same time they stake out the ebook reading territorry in the iPhone.
After the casualness with which the iPhone and iPod Touch started to make inroads in the portable game console market, against such stablished players as the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP, Amazon must have felt that they better make sure that people reading on the iPhone and iPods were reading books sold by Amazon.
UPDATE: It seems that the iPod Touch can run the Kindle for iPhone application.