Apple’s War On Amazon Starts Thursday

Apple’s War On Amazon Starts Thursday

Apple’s most direct competitor in the future won’t be Microsoft or Google, but Amazon.com.

With the release of the Amazon Kindle Fire, Amazon.com declared war directly on Apple’s core business model, which is to sell integrated solutions for the consumption and creation of digital content.

Starting Thursday, Apple strikes back.

My unified theory of Apple: It’s primarily a content consumption and creation company.

Apple devices do all the standard things that phones, tablets, laptops and desktops do, but Apple’s secret applesauce is that iGadgets are optimized on the low end for “consuming” content, and on the high end for creating it. Apple’s unique business model is to profit from the hardware, profit from the software and profit from the delivery of content to those integrated hardware/software devices.

If you understand this basic fact about Apple’s uber strategy of focusing on content, then it’s easier to predict what the company will do.

In a nutshell, Apple’s goal is to do for all content what it did for digital music — control it.

In order to control digital content, that control must be wrested from established players.

Music was easy, because the recording industry was naive and clueless. By the time they realized Apple was out to control their industry, it was too late.

Other media will be harder. The only way for Apple to take control of TV, movies, books, magazines and newspapers will be to destroy many of the companies that currently dominate those industries — by eliminating them and enabling content creators to sell their works directly to consumers via iTunes. It’s called disintermediation — the removal of intermediaries who stand between the Mac-using content creators and the iOS-using content consumers.

Fortunately, for Apple, the destruction of old-school intermediaries like TV and movie studios and publishing companies is going to happen anyway. The broad trend is in Apple’s favor.

We already have an idea about how Apple intends to control the future of video content. The rumored iTV, if successful enough, could put Apple in a position to dictate delivery, and also business models — a la carte, for example, instead of the prevailing cable model. TV is the one major content consumption device that isn’t made by Apple, and soon Apple will fix that. When they do, the iTV or whatever will ultimately cut out the cable companies and deliver everything over the Internet.

But what about publishing?

It turns out that the very company that has declared war on Apple is the same company that currently controls book publishing.

It’s pretty hard to imagine Apple putting up an Amazon.com-style bookstore and competing head-to-head with Amazon for print book sales. It’s not going to happen.

In fact, Apple did launch a bookstore that competes in a limited way with Amazon’s eBook offerings, and that hasn’t been exactly what you might call successful.

Amazon appears untouchable for book sales. But in fact that company is far more vulnerable than it appears.

Amazon sells two kinds of books (I’m oversimplifying for the sake of clarity). The first kind of book comes from the traditional publishing industry. Harper Collins does its thing, develops a book title and sells a hardcover edition and Kindle edition, then later a paperback and audiobook. Even though there are products consumable on iOS devices, namely eBooks and audiobooks, it’s still produced through traditional intermediators.

The second kind of book comes directly from authors. There’s no publishing company involved. Amazon offers the option of itself serving as the intermediator, offering publishing-like services, including design, editing and all the rest. Or authors can hire their own freelancers to do that work for them. Authors for this kind of book do their own marketing and distribution, and Amazon offers help with those efforts as well, for a price. This is the disintermediated model.

The dominant type of book on Amazon from a revenue perspective is the first kind, the kind produced by the traditional publishing system. The second kind of book is a much smaller business.

That’s today. Tomorrow, the relative importance of these two kinds of books will be reversed. Publishing without a publisher is the future of publishing.

Apple will never compete with Amazon.com in a soup-to-nuts online bookstore scenario, where the core competency is making deals with every book publisher in existence and managing incredible inventories of paper books. That’s not a business Apple wants to be in.

But the future of books — self-published authors selling electronic books to be read on digital devices. Well, that’s an Apple business.

In other words, Apple won’t compete with Amazon for the present of book publishing, but for the future.

And Apple has one massive advantage over Amazon.com in the world of self-publishing: A disproportionate percentage of authors use Macs.

All things being equal, authors would choose to work with Apple rather than Amazon.

And they’re not equal: Apple is already better than Amazon at creating the tools for creating books. Apple is already the hardware platform of choice for both designers and authors. Apple makes word-processing software and communications software. In fact, every aspect of the disintermediated book publishing model falls squarely into Apple’s core competencies.

I think Apple intends to slowly take control of the book publishing industry from Amazon by providing the leading tools and cloud infrastructure for authors to create and then market their books directly to readers.

Starting with the education segment of the publishing market. Which brings us back to Thursday’s event.

I think we can expect to see the beginnings of a system that connects textbook authors to students. Between those two Apple-using connection points lies writing, editing and other types of creative collaboration, design, layout, and more. The textbooks of the future will be cheaper and more frequently updated. They’ll be annotatable by teachers or customizable by school districts and universities.

Although Apple may initially partner with textbook companies, ultimately textbook publishers will be pushed aside because they’re too slow and inefficient.

In other words, I think Apple will begin the long process Thursday of reinventing the textbook industry as a stepping stone to eventually reinventing the entire publishing industry.

In addition to re-inventing the textbook industry, I think Apple will re-invent the textbook. The obvious way to do this is to integrate multimedia. Because textbooks will be conveyed as iOS apps, they’ll have video, and audio, worksheets, interactive quizzes, “flash card” functionality and much more.

Starting with textbooks makes enormous sense for Apple. The company has always emphasized the education market. Schools at all levels have taken to iPads in a massive way. Re-inventing textbooks to be read on iPads will be something welcome by students, teachers, school districts and universities.

As part of Apple’s effort both to serve the education market and also to clobber Amazon.com, I think Apple will announce sometime this year, possibly Thursday, a 7-inch iPad (widely rumored) and sell it at very low cost to undermine the attractiveness of the Amazon Kindle Fire.

I also wouldn’t be surprised if Apple offered new special discounts for bulk purchases of iPads to schools.

I believe that whatever Apple announces will be a step — larger or small — toward controlling the textbook market by enabling the disintermediation of the industry — the removal of publishers, printers and others from the supply chain.

One step is winning the customers — the schools, teachers and students. A second step is winning the suppliers: The writers, editors and others. And a third step is connecting the two with a publishing system that turns the content creator’s words, pictures, videos, audio, designs and other materials into a polished, marketable interactive eBook.

Despite the long goal of disintermediation, I think there’s a very good chance that publishers may be involved in Thursday’s announcement. One possible baby step is to convert existing textbooks into iPad apps and eBooks. That would be the quickest way for Apple to establish itself firmly in the market.

By the time Apple has transformed the high end of the textbook market, they’ll be ready to go after books in general, which will by then also be ready to go it alone without publishing intermediaries and will also be ripe for multimedia.

The familiarity with Apple’s publishing systems in academia by students, teachers and professors will ease their entry into the bigger publishing world. Writers tend to go to school. And this is yet another great reason to start the conquest of publishing with textbooks.

An alternative scenario is that in addition to a program to corner and reinvent the textbook market, Apple may also offer publishing tools for authors to sell iBooks to the general reading public as well.

But no matter what specific programs and products Apple announces Thursday, you can be certain that Amazon.com won’t like it.

Amazon has always been in Apple’s long-term path by selling electronic content in the form of Kindle books. They challenged Apple even more directly when they provided an alternative to iTunes with music, movie and TV downloads. But the aggressive launch of the Amazon Kindle Fire tablet put them directly in Apple’s way as Competitor Number One.

Thursday’s Apple event has been billed as an “education” event. And I have the feeling that Apple is about to take Amazon to school.

Picture courtesy of MindShift

Related
  • 666

    Remember what happens to pigs with apple in their mouths—They get eaten.

  • Jamal22

    I’m glad for competition. Power corrupts; Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

  • Blake Beavers

    tl;dr

  • brian mcandrews

    The assumption being that education textbook industry in the U.S. is played on a level field.  This is a whole new level of “hardball” for Apple to play.

  • EvilEmpireRaiders

    While the author makes many valid points in this article, he misses one big point: Amazon does not want to compete with Apple for content creating or to create the machines that make the content. 

    Amazon wants to be the gatekeeper of selling products. Its goal is to be the one and only stop shopping website on the internet. They want to be the Walmart of the 90s of the internet in the 21st century. Apple can and probably do everything you said in this article, but guess what? If people come to Amazon.com to buy Apple products (along with any other product that is sold in this vast world), then Amazon would be content.

    The Kindle Fire was created for one main purpose: to make it easier for consumers to buy products online, thru their website. All the other stuff on the Kindle is just fluff. Case and point. Anyone who wants to buy digital music (or even digital video content) would choose Amazon over iTunes because Amazon charges the same price for the content, PLUS it does not charge taxes on the content, unlike iTunes, and its interface and downloading ability is much easier than the all intrusive iTunes. Plus, Amazon has a wider selection of content than Apple.

    Amazon doesn’t really care if Apple makes a 7″ iPad because if the owner of that iPad puts an Amazon App on it, then Amazon will be very happy because the owner will come to its website to BUY THINGS via Apple iPad!

    You can think of Apple as the awesome, great machine, and Amazon as the virus within it. Amazon does not make the machines, but they surely use the machines to spread their disease of consumerism. 

    Comparing Amazon with Apple is comparing oranges to apples. Both companies have DIFFERENT MISSIONS, but the same goal…which is to make lots of money off the consumer. 

    Don’t you think it’s kind of strange that Apple never says anything about Amazon as competition, but they always talk about Google, and Android, and Blackberry, etc…as rivals??

    Even Apple knows that they do not have to fear Amazon, and vice versa. Unless Apple decides to become a one-stop shopping website like Amazon, there is NO CONFLICT between the two companies.

  • EvilEmpireRaiders

    While the author makes many valid points in this article, he misses one big point: Amazon does not want to compete with Apple for content creating or to create the machines that make the content. 
    Amazon wants to be the gatekeeper of selling products. Its goal is to be the one and only stop shopping website on the internet. They want to be the Walmart of the 90s of the internet in the 21st century. Apple can and probably do everything you said in this article, but guess what? If people come to Amazon.com to buy Apple products (along with any other product that is sold in this vast world), then Amazon would be content.

    The Kindle Fire was created for one main purpose: to make it easier for consumers to buy products online, thru their website. All the other stuff on the Kindle is just fluff. Case and point. Anyone who wants to buy digital music (or even digital video content) would choose Amazon over iTunes because Amazon charges the same price for the content, PLUS it does not charge taxes on the content, unlike iTunes, and its interface and downloading ability is much easier than the all intrusive iTunes. Plus, Amazon has a wider selection of content than Apple.

    Amazon doesn’t really care if Apple makes a 7″ iPad because if the owner of that iPad puts an Amazon App on it, then Amazon will be very happy because the owner will come to its website to BUY THINGS via Apple iPad!

    You can think of Apple as the awesome, great machine, and Amazon as the virus within it. Amazon does not make the machines, but they surely use the machines to spread their disease of consumerism. 

    Comparing Amazon with Apple is comparing oranges to apples. Both companies have DIFFERENT MISSIONS, but the same goal…which is to make lots of money off the consumer. 

    Don’t you think it’s kind of strange that Apple never says anything about Amazon as competition, but they always talk about Google, and Android, and Blackberry, etc…as rivals??

    Even Apple knows that they do not have to fear Amazon, and vice versa. Unless Apple decides to become a one-stop shopping website like Amazon, there is NO CONFLICT between the two companies.

  • Goldie20

    ” And Apple has one massive advantage over Amazon.com in the world of self-publishing: A disproportionate percentage of authors use Macs.All things being equal, authors would choose to work with Apple rather than Amazon. “

    Mike, do you have any studies or surveys that back up this statement? Given that this is such a signal point of your article I would think you must have access to data in this regard.

  • johnflurry

    removed duplicate

  • johnflurry

    Mike,  The schools we have been working with have been up against a side of the Apple walled garden that has caused frustration for administrators.  They secure iPads through grants and then are stuck trying to find ways to buy books and apps.  Apple has been less than helpful to the self starting programs and has held up a few schools as flagship programs while leaving others to fend for themselves.  Apple consultants who are hired to guide and educate teachers and administrators how to have successful programs end up pitching more Apple products and services while lecturing on how not to break Apple’s strict policies of content sharing and use.  I really hope Apple does not propagate the the old school text book and publishing model of scalping the consumer, student and school with unrealistic prices for mediocre to poor textbooks. As developers we are working with schools and universities to create their own content specifically geared to the curriculum they need.  

    I think it is telling that a tech coach for a school we are working with is actively looking to find devices (the Kindle Fire) to help get past the gate.  

    Don’t get me wrong. Apple products are incredible.  I agree with your assessment that they are geared to two sides of the spectrum, content consumption and creation.  I believe they will have a hard time matching Amazon’s remarkable content delivery, self publishing tools and stellar record of customer service. THursday is going to be a very interesting day indeed.

  • George Burroughs

    Great, great article.  I think that we will one day look back on the words that you wrote and not only see that you were right, but that we are living in a much different (and better) world because of these changes. 

  • johnflurry

    Mike,  The schools we have been working with have been up against a side of the Apple walled garden that has caused frustration for administrators.  They secure iPads through grants and then are stuck trying to find ways to buy books and apps.  Apple has been less than helpful to the self starting programs and has held up a few schools as flagship programs while leaving others to fend for themselves.  Apple consultants who are hired to guide and educate teachers and administrators how to have successful programs end up pitching more Apple products and services while lecturing on how not to break Apple’s strict policies of content sharing and use.  I really hope Apple does not propagate the the old school text book and publishing model of scalping the consumer, student and school with unrealistic prices for mediocre to poor textbooks. As developers we are working with schools and universities to create their own content specifically geared to the curriculum they need.  

    I think it is telling that a tech coach for a school we are working with is actively looking to find devices (the Kindle Fire) to help get past the gate.  

    Don’t get me wrong. Apple products are incredible.  I agree with your assessment that they are geared to two sides of the spectrum, content consumption and creation.  I believe they will have a hard time matching Amazon’s remarkable content delivery, self publishing tools and stellar record of customer service. THursday is going to be a very interesting day indeed.

  • johnflurry

    The schools we have been working with have been up against a side of the Apple walled garden that has caused frustration for administrators. They secure iPads through grants and then are stuck trying to find ways to buy books and apps. Apple has been less than helpful to the self starting programs and has held up a few schools as flagship programs while leaving others to fend for themselves. Apple consultants who are hired to guide and educate teachers and administrators how to have successful programs end up pitching more Apple products and services while lecturing on how not to break Apple’s strict policies of content sharing and use. I really hope Apple does not propagate the the old school text book and publishing model of scalping the consumer, student and school with unrealistic prices for mediocre to poor textbooks. As developers we are working with schools and universities to create their own content specifically geared to the curriculum they need. 

    I think it is telling that a tech coach for a school we are working with is actively looking to find devices (the Kindle Fire) to help get past the gate. 

    Don’t get me wrong. Apple products are incredible. I agree with your assessment that they are geared to two sides of the spectrum, content consumption and creation. I believe they will have a hard time matching Amazon’s remarkable content delivery, self publishing tools and stellar record of customer service. THursday is going to be a very interesting day indeed.

  • johnflurry

    The schools we have been working with have been up against a side of the Apple walled garden that has caused frustration for administrators. They secure iPads through grants and then are stuck trying to find ways to buy books and apps. Apple has been less than helpful to the self starting programs and has held up a few schools as flagship programs while leaving others to fend for themselves. Apple consultants who are hired to guide and educate teachers and administrators how to have successful programs end up pitching more Apple products and services while lecturing on how not to break Apple’s strict policies of content sharing and use. I really hope Apple does not propagate the the old school text book and publishing model of scalping the consumer, student and school with unrealistic prices for mediocre to poor textbooks. As developers we are working with schools and universities to create their own content specifically geared to the curriculum they need. 

    I think it is telling that a tech coach for a school we are working with is actively looking to find devices (the Kindle Fire) to help get past the gate. 

    Don’t get me wrong. Apple products are incredible. I agree with your assessment that they are geared to two sides of the spectrum, content consumption and creation. I believe they will have a hard time matching Amazon’s remarkable content delivery, self publishing tools and stellar record of customer service. THursday is going to be a very interesting day indeed.

  • mindprince

    I don’t like reading textbooks digitally, I love reading novels and other books on my iPad but not textbooks. I like to refer to many textbooks at once, highlight important things, scribble on them etc. and ebooks are not optimized for this – referring multiple books on iPad is nightmare.

  • Alfiejr

    oh, Mike, a 7″ iPad? forgeddit. never gonna happen. in addition to Jobs saying so two years ago, it would be impossibly too small for textbook apps. the whole idea of textbook apps has to be to  integrate active media and student exercises – even tests – into the traditional text and graphics. and that takes full-size screen area.

    instead what would make sense, hardware-wise, is Apple extending its educational discount program to iPad 2 purchases, especially once the iPad 2 price drops by $100 when the iPad 3 comes out in two months. so schools could buy them for maybe $350.

    what is really missing, tho, is a “classroom” version of iOS. one that leaves out the consumer apps, replacing them with a built-in group management/sharing setup (wifi obviously) for “lesson plan” apps instead. all managed centrally from the app’s server program on the teacher’s Mac computer. if Apple announces something like that next week, that would be revolutionary

    but, yes, simply creating a new channel for textbook authors to sell a new generation of interactive textbooks direct to schools/students has great and disruptive potential. even with Apple’s 15% cut, textbook prices could come down substantially.

  • Alfiejr

    [delete duplicate]

  • TheMacAdvocate

    If Apple wants to be a major player in textbooks, it has to deal with the publishing houses – for  several reasons. First, textbooks are not written like novels. They require teams of writers, editors and researchers. Publishing houses must also “lobby” their textbooks to government, taking into account the political environment of their prospective audience. Independent writer Joe doesn’t decide to write Chemistry 101 and submit it for use in the state of California, the kind of direct relationship you believe favors Apple (which I happen to agree with). Private universities have their own review protocol, so independent writers have a better shot at appearing on the curriculum, but your vagueness in defining what you mean by the “education market” makes me think you mean more than private universities.

    Apple may be able positively influence education by getting textbooks into the hands of students via iPad (which won’t be a 7″ iPad, regardless of how many people suggest it – please go back to Jobs’s autobiography or re-read the numerous interviews where Jobs explains why the iPad is its current size). Until Apple can find a way to deal with the political realities of getting textbooks into the hands of students, which you in no way address, that will be the extent of their contribution.

  • TheMacAdvocate

    **Dupe comment**

  • Shekhoo Raja

    I dont think this is going to happen. One reason. No Steve Jobs and without him Apple is nothing

  • Sean Murphy

    what an idiotic statement

  • Paul Lloyd Johnson

    You were doing well, but lost me at ’7″ inch iPad’. Just because Amazon chose this form factor doesn’t mean Apple will. Steve was totally against a 7″ inch iPad and Sir Jonny simply wouldn’t design one if that is the case.

  • Frank Lowney

    A very interesting thesis.  I am eager to hear what Apple is announcing this Thursday.  Although I think that disintermediation of the textbook market would be a good thing, the obstacles are much more formidable than you describe.  For example, most textbooks are written by college professors.  Their motivation is only partly influenced by royalties received.  The larger influence is the effect of being validated by a publisher on promotion and tenure (P&T).  P&T committees routinely dismiss self-published works as “vanity” publications of little to no worth.  They don’t count.
    Until that tradition changes, the pool of subject matter experts willing and able to self-publish eTextbooks may not be large enough.  Apple tends to get its understanding of education from large and prestigious institutions and from leading faculty who already have full rank and tenure.  Thus, I don’t think that they even perceive the issue. 

  • AppleKilledMobileFlash

    Ha.  Apple empire strikes back!  I can’t wait for Apple to put the screws to Amazon and their two-bit tablet hardware.  Amazon should have stuck to online retail and their cloud business instead of trying to move in on Apple’s hardware territory.  Apple needs to make iTMS one the largest banks of media content on the planet.  Media content exclusive to Apple devices only.  Bezos and Amazon had to get greedy and start a war with Apple.  Apple needs to put them in their place.  If Apple can offer a low-cost iPad with high-quality, it should be enough to hurt Amazon right where it counts, in the pocket.  I don’t see why Amazon didn’t go after the desktop market or something instead of trying to steal sales from Apple’s tablet market.

    I don’t think Amazon would appreciate it if Apple started muscling in on their online retail business.  Amazon is spreading itself too thin and one day it’s going to snap.

  • marcwitteveen

    It’s an interesting thought, in Slovenia, they are doing an experiment with digital textbooks at one school and you should see the parents in the media, all against it, but with lame excuses. I lived in the Netherlands and in Slovenia and process of textbooks are the same: republish every year a revised version and make this the only allowed textbook for that year, hence you need to buy a 70 buck textbook NEW vs. a second hand one. Additionally there are chapters in that are skipped because they are not required for the program.

    So I am in favor for an electronic, optimized and up to date text books, specially if it has some interactive features, e.g. showing a video presentation on how newtons law works, etc.

  • Len Williams

    Finish your homework, then come out of the basement and look around. You’re completely out of touch with what Apple is doing. Steve was a terrific leader and genius, but he left some great executives in the top positions at Apple. I would bet my socks that there is a years-long strategic plan in place for improvements to existing products and for the rollout of new products from Apple.

  • Goldie20

    ” And Apple has one massive advantage over Amazon.com in the world of self-publishing: A disproportionate percentage of authors use Macs.
    All things being equal, authors would choose to work with Apple rather than Amazon.”

    Anything to substantiate this statement?

  • KarenInglis_Writer

    As a self-published children’s author on Amazon and Kindle I have to say that I’ve been less with impressed so far with my exeprience of self-publishing to Apple’s iBookstore.  If Apple wants to woo me to updload my next book, and persuade me not to withdraw my current book and opt for Amazon’s KDP select program, they need to make the whole process more intuitive. I’m relatively new to using Apple but have been surprised that they
    don’t seem to have carried out user testing to ensure the experience of
    self publishing is simple, quick and easy.

    They also need to make responses to technical queries more prompt – and not do silly things like close iTunes Connect (where you upload your book and view sales etc) for several days over Christmas! It was closed for business until Dec 29th whereas on Amazon I could track my ebook sales daily including on Christmas day.

    I’ve also been astonished that from my new iMac I have to run around in circles to find the iBookstore which seems to be hidden away in a corner of iTunes- and when I finally get there to find that I cannot download and read my book because there is no app to use on the iMac.

    If it’s truly the self publisher Apple is after there are quite a few things to fix in my view!

  • Lexi Dick

    “All things being equal, authors would choose to work with Apple rather than Amazon” – where did you get this idea? 
    I mix with other authors on forums, including the biggest, Kindleboards, and I’m not picking this up at all. Amazon has given indie authors the opportunity to publish and sell their books, and Apple will have to tackle the selling part as well as the publishing part in order to compete. I’ve just made four of my books exclusive with Amazon’s KDP Select programme, because I’ve sold 46,000 books via Amazon and a handful with other outlets, including iTunes. Problem is, it’s no good having a great book for sale if no one finds it. Amazon’s clever systems let readers find books they will like. Apple has a long way to go to compete.

    Lexi Revellian

  • Goldie20

    “And Apple has one massive advantage over Amazon.com in the world of self-publishing: A disproportionate percentage of authors use Macs.
    All things being equal, authors would choose to work with Apple rather than Amazon.”

    And you come to this conclusion how exactly?

  • Goldie20

    apparently I posted the same thing but the moderator doesn’t like me poking holes in Mike’s articles.

  • Goldie20

    I’ve posted a similar comment at least three times, none of which have shown up. Apparently the moderator doesn’t like me poking holes in Mike’s articles.

  • John Lehmkuhl

    You’re so out of touch with how deep the waters at Apple are it’s not even funny… just like your comment.

  • Steven King

    How many NY Times bestsellers are self published?
    How many do you think will be in the future?

    I don`t know where the author pulls these ideas from but I just don`t see it ever happening.

    Kudos for creativity though.

  • GrannieTheGeek

    Bravo! Bravo! Bravo! This article made me smile. This was a well formulated news release and a stellar prelude to this Thursday’s Education Event in New York City. Thank you so much.

    http://www.granniethegeek.com

  • EvilEmpireRaiders

    While the author makes many valid points in this article, he misses one big point: Amazon does not want to compete with Apple for content creating or to create the machines that make the content. 

    Amazon wants to be the gatekeeper of selling products. Its goal is to be the one and only stop shopping website on the internet. They want to be the Walmart of the 90s of the internet in the 21st century. Apple can and probably do everything you said in this article, but guess what? If people come to Amazon.com to buy Apple products (along with any other product that is sold in this vast world), then Amazon would be content.

    The Kindle Fire was created for one main purpose: to make it easier for consumers to buy products online, thru their website. All the other stuff on the Kindle is just fluff. Case and point. Anyone who wants to buy digital music (or even digital video content) would choose Amazon over iTunes because Amazon charges the same price for the content, PLUS it does not charge taxes on the content, unlike iTunes, and its interface and downloading ability is much easier than the all intrusive iTunes. Plus, Amazon has a wider selection of content than Apple.

    Amazon doesn’t really care if Apple makes a 7″ iPad because if the owner of that iPad puts an Amazon App on it, then Amazon will be very happy because the owner will come to its website to BUY THINGS via Apple iPad!

    You can think of Apple as the awesome, great machine, and Amazon as the virus within it. Amazon does not make the machines, but they surely use the machines to spread their disease of consumerism. 

    Comparing Amazon with Apple is comparing oranges to apples. Both companies have DIFFERENT MISSIONS, but the same goal…which is to make lots of money off the consumer. 

    Don’t you think it’s kind of strange that Apple never says anything about Amazon as competition, but they always talk about Google, and Android, and Blackberry, etc…as rivals??

    Even Apple knows that they do not have to fear Amazon, and vice versa. Unless Apple decides to become a one-stop shopping website like Amazon, there is NO CONFLICT between the two companies.

  • deasys

    You haven’t been paying attention, Shekhoo.

  • askmewhyihateyou

    What Karen said.

  • askmewhyihateyou

    Lame.

  • OS2toMAC

    I agree that a 7″ iPad probably won’t see the light of day.  BUT a 7″ iPod Touch (or how about the name “iBook”) might.

    The name “iBook” works well with the “iBooks” store.  My wife has a Nook, and at 7″ seems to be a perfect size for reading.

  • GrannieTheGeek

    Umm – where did my comment go? (sigh)

  • Ian Hecht

    Interesting article, but I see two problems with your thesis:

    First, many authors may use Macs to write (I’d be interested to see some stats on that assertion), but the tools for doing layout for publishing are not Apple tools, they are Adobe and a couple of other companies.  Even ebooks need some layout software intermediaries to make sure ToCs link to the parts of the book they’re supposed to and that pagination doesn’t break when illustrations are included (which becomes more complicated in the ebook space because of reflowing when the reader can choose their own text size).

    Secondly, and more problematical for your argument, textbook manufacturers are going to be the last publishers to be disintermediated – while it may be faster to go directly to article authors and try and compile a textbook from disparate articles on a variety of subjects, the advantage to a publishing house in education is a common voice (including level of language), reduction of duplication of material (where a textbook can simply say “Refer to page xx”), and most importantly, fact-checking.

  • Ian Hecht

     I think you underestimate just what Amazon is capable of. After all, who would have guessed 15 years ago that Apple would be a huge player in the consumer electronics sphere?  I highly recommend reading Wired’s profile of Jeff Bezos to see how Amazon works – they are interested in becoming end-to-end suppliers for all of their book products, so they developed (or bought, in the case of CreateSpace) the tools to make it easiest for that to happen.

    http://www.wired.com/magazine/

  • Ian Hecht

    Not to mention flipping back and forth a chunk of pages at once…

  • Dale Innis

    I’m surprised you mention Google only once on this page; after all, they ALSO want to control, ehem, make available all the world’s content to everyone.  So this might be an interesting three-way race.  I agree with other posters that it’s naive to assume that “authors use Apple computers” very strongly leads to “authors will tend to want to self-publish via Apple”; it’s nothing like that simple.

  • TheMacAdvocate

    If you want stats that back assertions, I’m afraid you’re trailing the wrong columnist.

  • cassandralite

    I agree with most of what Mike wrote, though not his contention that authors would rather deal with Apple than Amazon.  I’m an author, though a mainstream one, not a self-published one.  And I can say categorically that the people I know in the same business trust Amazon a lot more than we do Apple (and I’ve been using Macs since January 1984). 

    First, we have 15 years experience with Amazon selling our books.  Second, Amazon has shown that it’s willing to negotiate terms (remember the Macmillan fiasco; Amazon backed down two days in).  Apple has proved time and again that it will only deal on the agency terms it approves.  They’ll set the price point, they’ll set the delivery system, they’ll try to freeze out Kindle reading.  Guaranteed.

    How ironic that the company which splashed into the public consciousness with a TV ad accusing a rival of being Big Brother has become BB himself.  Meet the new boss.

  • ChKen

    You may use Macs, but I think you’ve completely misinterpreted the situation. Apple didn’t set the price point, they let the publishers do it. They didn’t freeze out the Kindle app, they’ve allowed it from the beginning. How can you say it’s “guaranteed”, when history already shows you are wrong. Before Apple entered the market, Amazon was setting the “price point”, and giving the publishers the take-it-or-leave-it bargaining position. If anyone was acting in a Big Brother way that you describe, it was clearly Amazon.

  • Henry Crabb

    Wow, you really hit the nail on the head with this one. Great article.

  • cassandralite

    I was responding specifically to Mike’s post about Apple taking over publishing.  The company’s history with digital music delivery is a good bellwether of what the future holds if his prediction indeed comes true.  Amazon wanted to lower price points but had to cave to the publishers, who set ebook prices to a level that they believe won’t cannibalize physical book sales.  Apple insists on maintaining more or less fair-traded price points, and if it does indeed someday control literary distribution on ebooks, you can count on the Kindle app/formatting being disallowed.  (See: Apple’s agency model with magazine publishers.)

  • Mario Aguila

    Voluntarism at his maximum level, to create a group-think. This is all about this article.

  • ddevito

    Let’s go Amazon.

    Amazon FTW. They’re cheaper and more flexible. Apple is too closed for education. 

    Funny how they became the company they wished to destroy in the early 80s. That 1984 Mac Ad can have Apple has IBM.

    One app store, one company, etc. 

    Draconian world it is quickly becoming I say

  • Peter Moeser

    Your use of the word “control” is wrong.
    Apple don’t want to control all content, they want to control the user experience by selling hardware that is good.
    The appearance of wanting to control has been about disrupting content creators to force them into providing their content more easily. No DRM, access to TV shows, movies.

  • Alex Murphy

    Having only one outlet to purchase all media on iDevices (Music, Movies, Apps, and soon Books) is the very definition of controlling content. Controlling the distribution of content is controlling the content itself. 

  • Hoser Man

    Since I have used my Kindle, I have found many books that I can get for .99 to 3.99 that are electronic only publishing that I have found more entertaining to read than many of the big publishers. I rarely will purchase a book that is over $10 on Amazon. In fact there is a Amazon underground that refuses to purchase books over $10. My one big purchase last year was Issacson’s book on Jobs, but that was all. After reading this article I am convinced that paper books are history and publishing companies must be shaking in their boots about their future. I’m really interested now on what is going to happen next week with Apple’s announcement. 

  • Hoser Man

    Actually, Amazon does not set the price point for electronic publishing, it is set by the publisher, that is what pisses off the consumer since the electronic reader is essentially underwriting the cost of the printed book and all its production costs pre and post printing. I think what Mike is indicating is that the pre-production costs does not require a publisher like Simon and Shuster to produce a book, only a writer and editor and and agent, thereby cutting costs significantly. I think Apple’s idea is not to publish electronic medium but to make it easier for the writer to process his/her work with fewer middlemen/women.

  • baby_Twitty

    “Music was easy, because the recording industry was naive and clueless. By the time they realized Apple was out to control their industry, it was too late.”

    BAD ASSUMPTION.

    The music industry was literally facing their graves as ONLINE PIRACY were rampant and sweeping across the world in the 90′s.

    Apple SAVED the industry by making tech savvy consumers to actually PAY for musics online.

    This is evident by myriads TOP Music labels owners crediting APPLE’s marketing genius and now you see amazon, nokia, google, etc all jumping onto the bandwagon trying to imitate Apple’s success with their online music stores.

  • victor seah

    If Apple were to go 7-inch, I think they would have do it with the iPod Touch. Have two models of the 7-inch form factor: one with e-ink and the other as full-featured. The iPad will retain the same form factor. Price the iPod Touch e-ink 7-inch model at $99 and the the full-featured, higher resolution color model at $199. This will guarantee Amazon will be screwed royally.

  • David

    ddevito, Android developer, proud Galaxy Nexus owner. With a title like that the motive for your comment is suspect at the very least, and your evaluation of Apple is purely subjective! As regards education, the structure of your missive screams YOU NEED ONE!

  • David

    Mario, do you ever proofread your writing before you submit it for the world to see? You might want to consider it in the future as your comment is virtually unintelligible!

  • David

    Makes me wonder – what has this mainstream author authored, and does he really know that many other authors who agree with his assertion? Sorry cassandralite, your argument is difficult to swallow. And is Apple really the bad guy here? Which one of the two does NOT collect taxes, therefore creating an uneven playing field for the bricks and mortar retailers (hint: Amazon). Apple has become big, not big brother, due to the quality and revolutionary vision of their products. Perhaps, just perhaps, that’s why every other company, including Amazon, tries to copy literally everything Apple does. Amazon is the one putting book stores out of business – to mention only one of the multitudes of businesses affected by this inequity. If you really think about it, they are the evil empire, not Apple. Apple is the one who is changing our lives for the better, whereas Amazon is simply hocking massive quantities of everything to anyone trying to save a dime.

  • David

    Just a note here… The music business was floundering due to rampant illegal downloading, as was the video industry. Apple’s business model not only saved their bacon, but brought some integrity to a generation of would-be pirates. Beyond that, they democratized music, etc., by making works created by independent musicians available to be heard without them having to kowtow to the labels.

  • David

    I think the future is the future, i.e. something we cannot know with any certainty. I also think it’s a bit shortsighted to assume that just because there are no self-published best sellers on NYT’s list today that there won’t be tomorrow. And are you the REAL Steven King? Of course you are ; ) Boo! Just checking.

  • David

    It sounds like your view is a bit myopic! Imagine, not being able to track your book for a whole 4 days – must have been a devastating experience. My condolences.

  • GreatBoo

    Dude, you’re really patronising.

    I agree with much of what you say, just not how you say it.

  • Alberto Hernandez

    The “iPod” name isn’t doing too well and if they do release a 7″ device I think they’ll want the “iPad” name attached to it.

  • AdamC

    7in iPad?

    I don’t think so, imagine its impact on th 10in iPad profitability.

  • cassandralite

    To answer your first question, I’ve written 18 nonfiction narrative books (including 2 NYT bestsellers, one of which was made into a movie that you and most everyone else saw), all published by the likes of Simon and Schuster, Random House, etc.  I know dozens of authors, editors, agents, publicists, etc.–the factory-line workers of mainstream publishing–and haven’t yet met someone who didn’t (a) feel scared shitless that the business we’re in may no longer support us unless we become as big as Stephen King, for example; (b) wonder what next month is going to look like, let alone next year; (c) recognize that there were be a few, but only a few, bricks and mortar stores left in major cities in the coming years; and (d) accept that we need to make peace with Amazon.  I know two veteran, successful editors who brainstormed a superb on-line content-feeding magazine that they brought to both Amazon and Apple (as well as a VC).  Apple dismissed out of hand; said it didn’t fit into its ecosystem.  Amazon took the meeting and opened its checkbook, wanting more choices for its customers.

    The way you referenced the music industry above makes me think that you never made your living in it, back in the golden era.  Even Richard Branson, a fan of Steve Jobs, “blames” him for putting 90 percent of music stores out of business. That technology has democratized the industry now is lovely for people who, like authors who have to self publish, couldn’t get a record deal.  But to the degree that the marketplace is then more flooded with mediocre product, the extant content producers who aren’t top-of-mind have a larger sea to swim in, which disadvantages the producers who may be less clever about self marketing. 

    Music industry executives–the few remaining ones, anyway–tend to believe they’re the last blacksmiths in the era of the horseless buggy.  So, too, do mainstream book publishers.  I’m all for democratization, but as someone who’s asked by friends and family and strangers to read their amateur manuscripts by the score, I can assure you that, 99.9 percent of the time, there are excellent reasons why wannabe authors couldn’t sell their wares.  The possibility that they might be able to come up with a terrific 45-second trailer for their crap novel, which is sold alongside mine, scares me (and others of my acquaintance).  But between the two titans who, at this point, appear to be the inevitable victors, Amazon frightens me less.  Like Steve Jobs himself, Apple does not negotiate.  It dictates.  That its tools are way cooler than anyone else’s is irrelevant to the discussion at hand.  (And just so you know, I bought a Mac the day it was introduced [after covering the annual meeting where Steve debuted it], have been using nothing but Macs since then, and wouldn’t even know how to launch I.E. on a Windows computer.]  

  • Goldie20

    “The music industry was literally facing their graves as ONLINE PIRACY were rampant and sweeping across the world in the 90′s.”

    I’m thinking you weren’t even around in the 90′s. Stuff like Napster didn’t even start until 1999. It was hardly “rampant and sweeping across the world in the 90′s”

  • lindan johnson

    Unfortunately… the music industry’s experience is not going to pre-empt the battle in the book world.  Fast Company just ran “Amazon Plagiarism Problems”  (http://www.fastcompany.com/180… a couple of days ago. It’s not just Amazon.  The new self-publishing platfroms are easy to use and it’s possible to publish a title within 24 hours.  One of the writers interviewed thought it was possible thought organized gangs are switching from spamming to book stealing because 70% royalty is a lot more profitable than click fraud.  This was my favorite from the article: there’s even a viral ebook generator that comes packed with 149,000 articles that makes it possible to create an ebook in minutes.

    Unfortunately, in the eBook world- Amazon and the other distributors make their money off the top- whether it’s stolen or from the real author.  So the economic incentive for battling this seems very different than the music battles. 

  • gbondy

    “A disproportionate percentage of authors use Macs.”[Citation Needed]

  • kyle_gibson

    Apple needs to kick the mentality that the smartphone/tablet industry is their god given gift.

  • Shameer Mulji

    Maybe the culture of Apple will tend towards a little more negotiation now that Tim Cooke is CEO.  

  • Tina Holmboe

    I’m afraid that you might need to consider that what YOU want to actually DO is of no interest to Apple; it never was. Their interest is for you to do what they say is what you want to do. Granted, you might need to parse that sentence twice, but …

    What worry me about the article is indeed this: Apple wants to move us. In the future, I suspect their ideal is for the intermediaries between artists and consumers to be them, only them, and no-one except them – and everyone else who find their hard- and software downright useless can simply go away.

    We don’t wanna play, after all, and it’s their sandbox. THAT worry me.

  • Darktanone

    Add to that bringing back the original iPad priced at $99. Game. Set. Match.

  • KarenInglis_Writer

    :-) As a newly published indie author I do have to confess to being a little hung up on the stats at that point! Once I found the Amazon tracking page it was a little addictive :) Mind you, as a children’s author we are not talking huge numbers!

    My real point, of course, is that I hadn’t expected the giant Apple to close for business for so long in this 24-hour e-world.

    Have a good weekend!

  • Mark Kendrick

    I’m one of those authors who uses a Mac.  Count me in.

  • Brian

    Nice point. Students in my class have a variety of learning styles, and this includes scribbling notes on printouts of my presentations while I lecture. 

  • Brian

    Amazon has a serious problem with their ‘self published’ vanity books being outright plagiarisms or cut-and-paste productions from content farms. There are technical ways to deal with this problem, but Amazon seems uninterested.  The old-time publishing houses have people called EDITORS and REVIEWERS who can vet manuscripts for quality, originality and in the of textbooks, accuracy. Often, these people are not just gatekeepers, but can work with authors to improve their craft. If the folks at Apple have a way of insuring quality, originality and accuracy  in e-books, more power to them.

  • Ken Heins

    or not, depending on what happens! LOL

  • Martin Hill

    The cheaper music-only iPod line may be fading, but the iPod touch is doing well. 7-10 million sold per quarter is nothing to sniff at particularly as Amazon is only estimated to have sold 1-2 million Kindle Fires.

    Mind you, Apple didn’t update the iPod touch at all in 2011 (apart for a white option) so you may be right.

  • susanthehuman

    I do think Apple will get into the self-publishing area, but to succeed they need to do something that Amazon has so far failed to do – find a reliable way to help the best self-published books float to the top. The Amazon self-publish landscape is 95% trash at the moment. Ultimately publishers still do have a big role to play, both as effective gatekeepers and in the services they offer to authors – editing being a big one. The fact that Apple is holding its event in New York is an indication that Apple has no intention of throwing publishers under the bus and wants to remain in their good graces. Self Publishing is in a weird, lawless stage right now, but this will not last. Most of the big success stories are either writing erotic/violent books, or began their careers with traditional publishing. The vast majority of books are still read via offerings of traditional publishers. I’d like to see a more viable path for self-publishing, but that will inevitably involve some kind of crowd sourced gatekeeping role that will be just as hard to get past as it is to get published traditionally. There’s no reason to believe that readers are willing to lower their standards simply because someone calls themselves “self-published” or “indie.”

  • susanthehuman

    for some reason this double posted, removing the duplicate.

  • vistarox

    Its probably true. A disproportionate amount of the Starbucks sipping “creative types” use Macs. 

  • Francisco Nieto

    As a teacher and iOS developer I look forward to the chance to bypass the Walmarts of educational publishing (Pearson and Mcgraw Hill) and collaborate with other educators, writers and developers in open textbook projects for the iPad. I’ve been creating curriculum for years, bypassing the “official” adopted curriculum while teaching to the standards. Now with the Common Core standards, the iPad, and the cloud, we are in a position to collaborate on real open source projects that don’t need to be updated every few years, because they would be constantly being updated by users and authors. 
    The big publishing houses have long had a stranglehold on curriculum forcing the already budget-depleted school districts to purchase their content simply because they purport to align to the state standards, a claim that is not alway true. But before these new eTextbooks that Apple will presumably endorse can be adopted into the curriculum, they will have to overcome state laws which limit the “options” districts can choose from to those who make the cut. It should go without saying that the publishers that consistently do make the list, at least in California, are the ones with the most lobbyists, political cash and close relationships with the panels that vet them. It’s crony capitalism at the expense of our students.

  • krulwich

    You assume that “The dominant type of book on Amazon from a revenue perspective is the first kind, the kind produced by the traditional publishing system. The second kind of book is a much smaller business.  That’s today. Tomorrow, the relative importance of these two kinds of books will be reversed. Publishing without a publisher is the future of publishing.”

    Has this happened in music? With all the MP3 music sharing going on, is anywhere near a majority of music listened to by MP3 coming from music producers that are not published by record (CD) labels?  I think not. Even if there are many more unpublished music producers than there used to be, the vast majority of what’s listened to is published through mainstream channels.

  • baby_Twitty

    be honest, we were all downloading MP3s for free before iTUNES came along.
    Or are u like only 12?
    and also, 1999 isn’t in the 90s? u must be from another dimension.

  • itsDavidAbraham

    Books are still DRM’d, I can’t see Apple dominating this unless and until they port iBooks to Android (never) and other platforms, both mobile and desktop.

  • twitter-36273

    “Apple’s unique business model is to profit from the hardware, profit from the software and profit from the delivery of content to those integrated hardware/software devices.”

    Wow. Unique:  a company that makes hardware and software, and provides a distribution channel for content, whose business model is to profit from—wait for it—its hardware and its software and its distribution of content.

    Apple’s a hardware company, and builds on that where it can add value that can also open up new awareness and new opportunites for new kinds of hardware.

    That’s the top of the foodchain.

  • twitter-36273

    Not so fast.  Apple has succeeded by avoiding the “race to the bottom”.  Not only by avoiding it, but by capitalizing on VALUE as a contrast to everyone else living the starvation economy created by participating in the race to the bottom of the Windows world.

  • twitter-36273

    Except this isn’t true.

    I can buy Kindle and nook eBooks. I can buy MP3s from anywhere.  I can buy PDFs or ePUBs or MOBIs from anywhere.

    I can buy any of thousands of apps that are content-heavy in proprietary ways.

    No music on iTunes is DRM’d, and if Apple had its way, no video would be either.

  • twitter-36273

    Troll.

  • twitter-36273

    Wow. Bumperstickers.

  • johngpetty

    MUCH OF THE COMMENTS MADE IN THE ARTICLE IS VERY PLAUSIBLE.
    THE ONE THING I DOUBT IS APPLE COMPETING WITH A 7″ TABLET.
    TYPICALLY WHAT APPLE HAS DONE IN THE PAST IS COME OUT WITH
    A MUCH SUPERIOR MODEL AND LOWER THE PRICE OF THE EXISTING MODEL.
    - John G. Petty

  • Rick Ludwig

    THANK you!!! Nobody seems to get it. “Digital means no publisher!” I think not. The WORST thing Amazon can do (or Apple or B&N) is to start diluting their eBookstores with “Self-published” stuff. If you let everybody publish a book without a publisher, everybody is going to write a book – and as the consumer, we’ll get a LOT of crap. Oh sure, there will be some gems, but we’ll get books that are half-finished, poorly written with grammatical / spelling errors, etc. 

    There are publishers out there that publish crap, but at least it’s finished and been through a review process. The current version of H.G. Wells “The Time Machine” was the seventh re-vision. Thank goodness for publishers or we would be stuck with “The Chronic Argonauts”. 

  • Rick Ludwig

    If you think Apple is going to leave the publishers out of the game… you’ve got some history to review (specifically iTunes).

  • Rick Ludwig

    If you want a $99 iPad, you’ll probably be able to get one on eBay or Criagslist in April or May. Just not through Apple. 

    And the new iPad will start at $499. And it will sell like hotcakes. 

    People don’t get that Apple doesn’t “respond to competitors” – at least not by releasing other models or starting pricing wars. Apple releases new products that competitors haven’t even thought of yet. I’ve been around long enough to never say “Apple will never _____” but I don’t think they’re going play into a pricing war.

  • Rick Ludwig

    There were many other forms of piracy besides Napster. Napster brought music piracy to the masses, but things like IRC and download sites were around long before Napster. 

    By the way… the same thing is happening to the book industry (believe it or not). It’s not nearly as bad, but it’s still a big problem. 

  • umbrarchist

    And why should cybernetic imperialism be tolerated?  Why should we allow control by Apple?

  • herms1951

    You’ve dreamed about it, watched HGTV, and and pick out colors. Now make your bathroom remodel a reality, more info, bathroomremodeling.cöm

  • alastair moir

    Lol! I’m a Starbucks sipping “creative type” that uses a mac. For the record though, that doesn’t mean I support the hegemony of Apple. Call me crazy, but I also don’t see the traditional publishing Industry disappearing anytime soon. Music was easy, you can review a song and make your own mind up about it after a five minute listen. Properly reviewing a book take considerably more effort, which is why people will probably continue to get paid to be gatekeepers.

  • alastair moir

    At the same time, Apple also created a virtual monopoly on content control through itunes. Granted Amazon is not that different in that regard, but my biggest problem with Apple’s contol of the music industry has always focused on how they have shoved itunes down our throats. It was never a good program, and I’m sure we have all cringed at one time or another at the lack of control over our media that it offers (not to mention crashing or erasing or DRM).  

    Amazon also offers variety in their music selection, at least through resale if not brand new. Apple does not. I have no proof for the following statement, but I suspect to many people, if it’s not on itunes, then it doesn’t exist. If there is any truth to fears of Apple as Big Brother, to me they are centered on how most users will accept the content offered them through the easiest channels.

     It seems to me that Apple is not a company that encourages diversity of content, and to me this goes against everything that I grew up thinking about them. They at one time positioned themselves as the outsider, and many people identified with them for this reason. I for one don’t anymore. They do still make nice machines though.

  • alastair moir

    At the same time, Apple also created a virtual monopoly on content control through itunes. Granted Amazon is not that different in that regard, but my biggest problem with Apple’s contol of the music industry has always focused on how they have shoved itunes down our throats. It was never a good program, and I’m sure we have all cringed at one time or another at the lack of control over our media that it offers (not to mention crashing or erasing or DRM).  

    Amazon also offers variety in their music selection, at least through resale if not brand new. Apple does not. I have no proof for the following statement, but I suspect to many people, if it’s not on itunes, then it doesn’t exist. If there is any truth to fears of Apple as Big Brother, to me they are centered on how most users will accept the content offered them through the easiest channels.

     It seems to me that Apple is not a company that encourages diversity of content, and to me this goes against everything that I grew up thinking about them. They at one time positioned themselves as the outsider, and many people identified with them for this reason. I for one don’t anymore. They do still make nice machines though.

  • alastair moir

    At the same time, Apple also created a virtual monopoly on content control through itunes. Granted Amazon is not that different in that regard, but my biggest problem with Apple’s contol of the music industry has always focused on how they have shoved itunes down our throats. It was never a good program, and I’m sure we have all cringed at one time or another at the lack of control over our media that it offers (not to mention crashing or erasing or DRM).  

    Amazon also offers variety in their music selection, at least through resale if not brand new. Apple does not. I have no proof for the following statement, but I suspect to many people, if it’s not on itunes, then it doesn’t exist. If there is any truth to fears of Apple as Big Brother, to me they are centered on how most users will accept the content offered them through the easiest channels.

     It seems to me that Apple is not a company that encourages diversity of content, and to me this goes against everything that I grew up thinking about them. They at one time positioned themselves as the outsider, and many people identified with them for this reason. I for one don’t anymore. They do still make nice machines though.

  • Robert Dunbar

    Electronic textbooks are absolutely the one kind of book I would not want. Print textbooks don’t allow me to get distracted. Print textbooks have a larger layout. Print conveys as much information as multimedia, and I don’t have to wait for an iffy internet connection. The only advantage e-textbooks have is updatability, and that’s not that big an advantage. And, frankly, I question whether e-textbooks will be substantially cheaper.

  • Wendy Woudstra

    Exactly. As much as I like Apple, I’m not about to read a book on my macbook or my ipod, While I will read on a tablet, mine happens to be an Android, and my main reading device is a Kindle. Apple couldn’t sell me a book I can use even if I wanted to buy from them.

  • dhmorrow

    I love Apple. I am not a fanboy, but I appreciate their influence and use their products. That said, I will not support them uncritically simply because of this fact. Others have touched on some of the potential misunderstandings and overstatements made in this article. 

    One thing I would add is that no one ever seems to acknowledge – or at least give much weight to – the fact that Amazon does far more than books! The truth of the matter is that Amazon has done one thing EXTREMELY WELL: they have placed themselves in the lives of consumers all over the world by selling them almost anything they could ever want at a good price, with great shipping and great service. People from every walk of life, people who use Macs or Windows PCs, people everywhere have Amazon shopping so built into their daily lives that they even take it for granted. That too, will only continue to grow. And as long as Amazon has that incredibly large market share spanning every category of consumer product, they will be tough to knock out in any meaningful way. 

  • Antonio Ramirez

    Electronic textbooks are the future whether you like it or not. It was the same with Newspapers, Music, and soon Magazines as well. As old generations get older make way for the new generations that are more computer savvy. They want their animated textbooks and text to speech textbooks because we all know how lazy America is. Plus it helps save trees which we are slowly running out of if we continue on this road. Having everything electronic may save us in the future by having a cleaner environment and soon the hardware will be environmentally friendly as well. Now will Apple take over the industry? I think the key is textbooks. Once you get the children involved then the rest is history as they get older. Since Apple is the first major company to punch into textbooks that work properly and smoothly including animations/video then they have the greatest chance to control that industry. Everyone thinks short term you need to think long term like Apple does to understand them.

  • Antonio Ramirez

    They don’t have to port anything to any other device other then their own computers but computers are becoming obsolete anyways so what’s the point? Tablets and mobile devices are the future so Apple doesn’t see the point in trying to control the present when they can control the future since it will soon become the present anyways. Read the post I just wrote to give you a better understanding. iPads are already in kindergartens hands in some schools and soon will be in all schools. That’s how apple stayed alive before and now is being used to take over everything. They raised a cult out of education.

  • J.A. Stockwell

    The NYT TImes specifically excludes self-published works, so none. If they change their policy, maybe more at some point. Some titles of JA Konrath already outsell James Patterson on Amazon, but you won’t see Konrath on a NY Times best seller list. The Chicago Tribune is reassessing it’s policy of excluding self-published titles from it’s lists.

  • 52novels

    This.

    I’ve made more than 500 ebooks for self-publishing authors over the last two years and relatively few of them use Macs.

  • Darktanone

    iPhone 4 is priced at $99 and the much older iPhone 3GS was initially free on AT&T (They may now be charging $.99). The line up covers all the price points. Simply carryover that model to the iPad. The original iPad is old enough that it wouldn’t cannibalize current model sales, but would cool Kindle Fire sales, if not extinguish it altogether. The other tablets wouldn’t stand a chance. The iPod line up offers several models at various price points and has that segment locked up. 

  • Chris

    It’s refreshing to see a post like yours when we have to wade in a sea of ten-year olds posting off-point ramblings that are so common these days.

  • alastair moir

    So important I had to say it 3 times apparently. Whoops.

  • Robert Dunbar

    As a father of four, I would never be so stupid as to put a $500 device into the hands of a 5-year-old. As a tax-paying and voting father of four, I would never vote for a school board that would require me to buy four $500 devices so that my kids can learn what they can learn from traditional learning styles. There is NO research that supports the idea that electronic learning is better than other learning methods; the only improvement is in convenience of delivery. And shininess of the delivery system.

  • Robert Dunbar

    As a father of four, I would never be so stupid as to put a $500 device into the hands of a 5-year-old. As a tax-paying and voting father of four, I would never vote for a school board that would require me to buy four $500 devices so that my kids can learn what they can learn from traditional learning styles. There is NO research that supports the idea that electronic learning is better than other learning methods; the only improvement is in convenience of delivery. And shininess of the delivery system.

  • Luke Larsen

    For colleges i think e-readers are a great idea. You have to pay a substantial amount of money for buying books etc. But if you had a cheap tablet, or even just an e-reader which arent even 100 dollars. That is much cheaper, plus they could just distribute the digital books very easily and you would only have to purchase one e-reader for the whole time your at school. let alone is more economically friendly. I do see your point with elementry or maybe even high school though, they would probably have less respect for the hardware and end up breaking them more often.

  • Nobilis Reed

    Both Apple (with their textbook authoring platform) and Amazon (with the Kindle Select program) are attempting to lock content into THEIR market, to create exclusive agreements with content creators.

    This creates a situation where the reader has to have the keys to multiple walled gardens in order to get the books they want.  Readers won’t like that.  The more the distributors try to fight over their market share, the more they will alienate their market.  As an author, I want my books to be available to everyone, whether they have a Kindle, an iPad, a PC, a smartphone, or whatever.

    When the giants do battle, it’s the midgets that get crushed.

About the author

Mike ElganMike Elgan writes about technology and culture for a wide variety of publications. Follow Mike on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.

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Posted in Apple, iOS, iPad, Top stories |