More on the Kindle vs. a hypothetical Apple device

There have been lots of good comments on my week-old post about the Amazon Kindle vs. a possible larger-format iPod Touch. Today, Michael Hyatt, CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers (the sixth largest trade book publisher in America and the world’s largest publisher of Bibles and books for the Christian market) comments that Apple may now have a good 2/3rds solution to eBooks — a hypothetical larger format iPod Touch and the iTunes Store channel — but what they don’t have is a relationship with book publishers — and Amazon is most publishers #1 customer.

Says Mike:

“I completely agree. I would much rather have an Apple Touchbook than the Kindle (which I own). However, you’re forgetting one small detail. The device is only one-third the equation. iTunes is another third. So far so good. A seamless way to get content from the store onto the device. What Apple is missing is the RELATIONSHIPS. They don’t have any relationships with book publishers that enables them to get access to the content. (I know because I am the CEO of the Thomas Nelson. We are the sixth largest book publisher in the U.S.) Could Apple develop these relationships? Sure. My point is that they haven’t started and this is where Amazon has a leg up. For most of us, they are one of our largest customers—and we trust them.

Related: I’ve had several people email me saying they already read books on their iPhone. And one web-apps company has contacted me with a solution they offer related to reading an eBook this way. I’ll be trying out the different solutions — along with my review of the Kindle I’ve ordered — sometime in the next couple of weeks.

Later: Robert Scoble pops a blood vessel ranting after his first week’s use of the Amazon Kindle. Really, Robert, tell us what you really think about the Kindle. I lost count after the fifth, “Whoever designed this thing should be fired.” He then gives the designers the worst insult imaginable, “Did you hire some out-of-work Microsoft employees?”

Equal time: I point once more to Aaron Pressman’s positive review.

  • There may be some kind of galactic mismatch going on between the — dare I say — slightly less technology-oriented, heavy reading community that Kindle is aiming for and the more gadget-happy, early-adopter crowd. And maybe there’s some confirmation bias at work, too, with people on both sides of the Kindle debate seeing what they expect to see.

    I read a lot of hardcover books. I buy them in stores, at airports and online. I borrow them from friends, I get them as gifts, I take them out of the library. Some books I read over and over, particularly favorite novels, but many others I read just once, especially historical biographies. All the books pile up and periodically I have to give some away or hide them in the attic.

    I have found in the past week that the Kindle is a great tool for this kind of reading life and for many reasons, from the cost savings to the weight savings to the time savings (from the elimination of book acquisition trips). Just as important, the Kindle seems to me to be a MORE comfortable form factor than a heavy book when held for a few hours at a time. The device itself completely disappears as do the pages of a book when I’m engrossed in the story. When I’m really rolling on a great book with the Kindle, I switch to the smallest font size and drink in the pages as fast as I can. When I’m getting a little sleepy, I switch to the bigger fonts (One of the techy reviews I saw this week actually complained that the Kindle didn’t maintain whatever typeface a converted PDF used and I have to say I felt like that reviewer lives on Mars or Pluto). What else? I actually look up words I don’t know, since it’s so easy. And I use the Internet connection to look up related stuff when I want to know more than an author is delivering on a particular topic.

    Like any tool, the Kindle is not the best solution for every person or every situation. But it’s still totally great…