iPad and Kindle live together in perfect harmony

Lightweight and more kid-resistant than the iPad

Our new Kindle 3 arrived yesterday, which raises the cost of my iPad to over $1,000, including the price of the iPad itself, the apps, the accessories and now the Kindle. That’s right, the Kindle. I’m counting it in the total cost because I had to buy the Kindle thanks to the iPad.

I’ll explain.

My daughter loves to read. I blame my wife who read to her every day from birth. “Park the crib in front of the TV,” I said. Six hours a day of soap operas and game shows won’t hurt her. Otherwise we’ll be paying for books for the rest of our lives.” My wife ignored my sage advice and now my daughter devours books whole and in bunches. She’s a reading machine and it’s all we can do to keep her stocked in appropriate reading material. (My wife saves the day by screening books. Otherwise our daughter might be reading Valley of the Dolls thanks to me. How is that book not for kids? I said. It has “dolls” in the title.)

Over the years, we’ve accumulated, and paid for, hundreds of books. We have books everywhere. On tables, stuck in the couch, on the bed, under the bed, falling out of the car when the door opens. Everywhere. But I grew tired of the clutter and bought the iPad to help reduce it, and to save money and reduce our carbon footprint.

My idea worked out great, but it led to my daughter hogging the iPad for hours at a time. Not only did I not get to use it, each evening I would open my email to discover individual Amazon receipts for the books she purchased, rubbing in the fact she was enjoying it while I stared at my 6-year-old Dell desktop. Not fun; I wasn’t happy. But a solution fell in my lap – or on my credit card.

Not appropriate for the child, but good for the adult reader

The new lower-priced Kindle 3 launched. I ordered it with the intention that my daughter would use it and my iPad would return to me like a long-lost dog finding its way home. And sometimes plans do go as planned. I am happy to report that I have been reunited with Sparky again (my dog name for my iPad) and my young bibliophile loves her new Kindle (which could be a dog’s name).

However, the only cloud in the sky of my cleverness is that I realize we’re about to witness the death of brick and mortar bookstores – just like we watched the end of Tower Records and other record stores. I have a bad case of deja vu. Why drive to a store to buy music when you can download it? Doesn’t the same apply to books? It does in my house.

Barnes & Noble and Borders stores are toast, done, finished, kaput. They’ll be closing in a few years, or less, I predict. They may still have a virtual store on the web, but the physical locations will join Tower Records in our memories.

This doesn’t mean paper books will go away. Independents may sell them, or Best Buy where CDs went to hang out waiting to die. Or we’ll just order paper books for our coffee tables from Amazon (free shipping and no tax). Or bookstores will reinvent themselves. But they can’t exist as is. Here’s why.

Last week, my daughter and I visited the children’s section at Borders, where I connected to their complimentary Wi Fi. Each time she found a book she liked, I checked for the Kindle version on Amazon. If it was available, I downloaded it on the spot. Yes, standing in Borders I shopped Amazon. That is a retailing model that cannot sustain itself. Well, not for Borders at least. Amazon on the other hand, well, their model looks golden, as does the future of e-books.

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6 thoughts on “iPad and Kindle live together in perfect harmony

  1. Nice post! And you bring up some interesting points regarding the decline in physical media. I agree that physical content is on the way out, and while this does benefit consumers in a number of ways, it also worries me.

    With physical media, such as book, you own the book for as long as you keep it. However, eBooks that you download onto the Kindle, or iBooks for the iPad, are tied to your account with the respective service. When you eventually upgrade to a new device, you run the risk of losing all the content that you paid for on your old device.

    • Tom,

      Thank you for commenting. You make excellent points about physical media and the risk of losing content. Those subjects have been on my mind. It’s one of the reasons I’ve stayed with the Kindle app on the iPad even though I have iBooks, Borders and B&N apps. I have the most trust in Amazon being around for the long run. And I can pull from the central location to the different devices I own. In addition, Amazon has the most content right now.

      You made me think of my old record collection and CDs I own, both of which are collecting dust right now. I’m not sure a physical inventory matters much anymore. It feels like I’m living in a world of “what’s new right now.” Years ago, a record collection meant something because there were fewer outlets for entertainment. Now, there are too many choices. So, does the physical inventory of books really matter? I usually read a book once. For me, that’s worth the price. I like having the e-inventory contained in one place and not in a box that might sit in a garage collecting dust. However, I do appreciate what you write about the having the physical object. There’s something comforting about that. A bookshelf full of books says something about who we are and our experiences. I guess we’ll have to hand our e-readers over to our friends when they visit. Not quite the same, is it?

      Thanks again for such a thought-provoking comment. You made me think.

      Best regards,

      UC

      • You’re welcome and I agree with what you say. Despite the convenience of electronic content, it lacks a tangible element. You can pick up a book, crease it’s spine and fold over it’s pages. It feels far more personal to the owner. I hope that physical media, whether that be books, CDs or DVDs , continue to have a place in the home’s of consumers.

        Thanks one again for the post. This is a blog that I will definitely be returning to.

        Cheers,

        Tom.

  2. Thanks for the laugh, you’ve got a great way with humor. Were you a stand-up comic in a previous life?

    Just wondered why you never got your daughter hooked to the library though. That’s how my parents managed to save thousands of dollars with me. I remember how they got me my own library card at NYPL before, and at that point that was the happiest day of my life (and theirs, with the savings) because I suddenly had all these books at my disposal.

    • Thank you for the nice compliment. I really appreciate it and your visit.

      I checked out your site and really like it. Sounds like Sara B’s new album is worth buying. I’ll have to download it.

      Regarding the library, we have used it many times and you’re right about it being a good place to go for free books. We should use it more often. My daughter reads many of her books over and over, which is one reason it’s nice to own them. Now with the Kindle and iPad, it’s going to be harder to go to the library. That ability to get something in a instant, especially a second book in a series after you read the first one is hard to resist.

      Thanks again for the visit.

      UC

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