Jan 20, 2009

iPod, iPhones the "Smiler with the Knyf?"

Personally, I think the increasing worry that reading on the iPod and the iPhone will soon lead to the "death of the book" is somewhat overstated. But this does not keep me from investigating the devices' potential, and how they might best be used to distribute various types of written and visual communication.

I must admit, however, that Gareth Powell's insights in this Blorge article - iPods and IPhones: Death for the Book Trade provides some interesting thoughts on this subject, particularly the example he uses regarding iPhone: The Missing Manual - available in print for about $20 or so, but (for a brief time) available in the iTunes store for $3.50 - on special. That deal may have been too good, since the iTunes edition seems to have been pulled.

Like other recent writers, Powell agrees that there will always "be a market for superbly produced books which are a pleasure to read," but for content more appropriately and conveniently suited to portable formats like the iPhone, the future of the printed page may be slightly more in doubt. Do you think this new type of delivery represents more than just a niche market?

1 comment:

  1. I am both a publisher and a writer and I do believe that the ebook is going to make that much of a difference. The perfect device is not yet with us. Sony got it wrong. Amazon, I am quite sure, has not sold an amazing number of Kindles. At the moment the best bet is the iPhone in one form or another.
    Publishers do not believe this will affect the book trade.
    All one has to do is look at sale figures. More titles are being published; print runs are getting much, much shorter; bookshops are closing.
    Yes, partly that is because there are competing attractions. But partly because there is a cheaper, more efficient way of producing books.

    Gareth Powell