Steve Jobs Sees The Future Of eBooks

David Pogue gets an interview with Steve Jobs. This is the bit that concerns us:

Q: Has your opinion of e-readers changed?

A: I’m sure there will always be dedicated devices, and they may have a few advantages in doing just one thing. But I think the general-purpose devices will win the day because I think people just probably aren’t willing to pay for a dedicated device. You notice Amazon never says how much they sell; usually if they sell a lot of something, you want to tell everybody.

We don’t see that it’s a really big market at this point. And in the future, the more general-purpose devices will tend to win the day.

I’m not sure that Amazon, as an example, really cares that much about being in the hardware business. If I were Amazon, I’d love selling stuff where I didn’t have to have a warehouse, didn’t need UPS.

Emphasis added by me.

I agree with him.

1) That general-purpose device is the smartphone and — when Apple finally gets around to it — a mini-tablet.

2) Yep, Amazon sure doesn’t crow about its sales, does it? Sony has stated it has sold somewhere over 400,000 of its Reader models. If Amazon had pushed out as many as analysts have speculated, it’d be something Bezos would crow about — very, very loudly.

3 Responses to Steve Jobs Sees The Future Of eBooks

  1. Mike Mc says:

    “1) That general-purpose device is the smartphone”

    I just can’t see, no pun intended, how people can read for extended periods of time on an iPhone or BB. I’ve tried reading on handheld devices and laptops and I just can’t seem to go more than than 30 minutes or so without my eyes rebelling. Maybe it’s just me.

  2. chris says:

    Hi, why do you think that the general purpose device will be the smartphone?
    Am i really alone wanting my phone just to be a phone?
    I’m not sure what a mini-tablet is but i would be happy for my laptop to be the device.

  3. mikecane says:

    If you’re having trouble reading on a smartphone, you’re probably forgetting to dial down the backlight. The iPhone defaults to using its ambient light sensor. Override that for reading eBooks, lower the backlighting, and it’ll be fine. I’ve been reading MobiPocket on my LifeDrive with no problems. Some people have also found it useful to use certain typeface and background color combinations, when the reading software allows that.

    The advantages of the smartphone:

    1) It’s always with you
    2) Only one device to carry

    If you want a dedicated device, that’s fine. But I think people will reach a point where they will see the smartphone as an Always With Me solution.

    Finally, and personally, I think we’re entering perilous economic times and a dedicated device is a luxury most people won’t be able to afford.

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