iPhone e-Books Don't Threaten Kindle Or Nook

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Just because developers are creating book applications for iPhone does not mean Apple's handset threatens Amazon's Kindle or B&N's Nook e-readers.

OK, it is a Monday and a slow news Monday, at that. Just because a Flurry study found that more book apps than games were developed for the iPhone over the past four months does not mean the Kindle and Nook are in trouble.

At the very least, there is the issue that books are easy to port to the iPhone when compared to the difficulty of developing games. It is no surprise that there would be more books developed, provided developers can make money doing so.

The jury is still out on how profitable the iPhone book market will turn out to be. And whether the iPhone will really compete with the larger e-readers.

Here is part of what Flurry has to say:

"In October, one out of every five new apps launching in the iPhone has been a book. Publishers of all kinds, from small ones like Your Mobile Apps to mega-publishers like Softbank, are porting existing IP into the App Store at record rates.

"The sharp rise in eBook activity on the iPhone indicates that Apple is positioned take market share from the Amazon Kindle as it did from the Nintendo DS. Despite the smaller form factor of the display, we predict that the iPhone will be a significant player in the book category of the Media & Entertainment space."

I have already downloaded (and paid for) several iPhone books, but they are all reference material. Not things that I would spend a long time reading in a single sitting.

That is a very different market and use model than what the Nook, Kindle, and (perhaps) the widely rumored Apple tablet address.

Because of its small screen, I cannot imagine reading hundreds of pages on an iPhone, something the Nook and Kindle make quite pleasant. I also cannot imagine paying "real book" prices for iPhone book apps. I would be willing to pay more for real e-reader content than for something I would read on my phone.

(Yes, I am aware of the Kindle for iPhone app and do not include it in the general category of iPhone books I am discussing here).

iPhone books fulfill a different purpose, I think, than books on the dedicated e-reader devices. If I were Amazon or Barnes & Noble, I would be much more worried about the other and emerging e-reader companies that I would be about the iPhone.

It looks like 2010 will be the Year of the e-Book.

David Coursey tweets as @techinciter and can be contacted via his Web site.

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