Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader and Apple’s iPad tablet have a lot more in common than you’d think. Both devices have sparked a revolution in mobile computing, are selling like hotcakes, and brought e-books to the masses.
Believe it or not, consumers have to thank Apple for the $260 price difference between the original Kindle and the Kindle 3. As with the mobile industry (see iPhone, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4), Apple has been the disrupting factor in the uptake of black and white e-ink e-book reading, with the iPad.
A recent survey from Marketing and Research Resources found that 40 percent of those questioned now read more on their Kindles and iPads than they did with print books, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Forrester Research estimates around 11 million Americans will own at least one digital reading device by the end of September, and as prices for e-reading devices fall, Amazon says people buy three times more books on their e-readers than they would with printed products.
E-books Are Still More Expensive
Since e-books are cheaper to produce and distribute than printed books, they should cost less, but they don’t. Books from electronic bookstores from the likes of Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or Apple are still more expensive than their printed versions.
The average paperback sells at around $10, while its electronic counterpart retails at $12.99. For a casual reader, e-book reading might not make economical sense, as long as they have to pay for a device like the Kindle and then pay extra per book as well.
Although e-ink e-readers prices dropped thanks to the iPad, Apple’s iBooks Store takes the blame for increases in e-book prices. The Cupertino company introduced the agency model to the e-books market, where the publisher can set its own prices, while Apple takes a cut out of the final selling price.
As analysts predict huge sales and consumers rush to buy e-readers and tablets, the market is in no short supply of reading devices. In the same category as the Amazon Kindle, you can get a Nook from Barnes & Noble or a Sony Reader, all with prices under $230.
If you prefer to read e-books on a tablet, the Apple iPad is your best bet so far, starting at $499. Competitors like Samsung and Motorola are working on their own Google Android-powered tablets, but they are not out yet. Alternatively, if you want a smaller tablet, you can take a look at the Dell Streak.