The iPad is not a Kindle killer, as Apple’s defenders try to insist, mainly because the iPad is not a book reader. Positioning it as a book reader makes it seem a little better than positioning it as a netbook, because you can display books on it. Of course you can display books on just about anything, making the whole thing a non-issue. But the iPad isn’t needed, Barnes and Nobles’ Nook and Sony’s Book Reader are cheaper, better designed and cooler than the Kindle. But all three companies are chasing a market that only publishing companies hope exists.
Still Apple is the cause of the Kindle, because the entire ill fated venture has very obviously been an attempt by Kindle to build its own iPod and iTunes store model. Amazon has made a weak effect to play catchup with the iTunes store, and Kindle was supposed to secure the same monopoly on books and magazines that Apple enjoys on music. The problem is that the eBook reader is a solution that no one really wants. Aside from the wireless aspect of it, the technology to create something like the Kindle has existed for a while. But nobody has really wanted it. And no one still really wants it.
While publishing houses facing falling sales still dream of being able to push their magazines and books via Kindle, there’s a reason those sales are falling. Magazines have become outdated and their content has only grown poorer in the last few years. Publishing companies have turned in an incestuous hive shoving out trendy books that it turns out no one really wants, while losing touch with their readership. And I’m not just talking about Science Fiction here, though it certainly is obvious there. The Kindle can’t solve a problem that’s rooted in the quality of the product and how people interact with the written word.