Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

Summary: A conversation I had in a coffee shop today with Bernie, a typical Kindle user, convinced me that the Kindle has already won the ebook war.

TOPICS: Hardware, Mobility

There may have been a new Nook electronic reader announced this week, but it remains to be seen if it's going to help Barnes & Noble make a dent in Amazon's sizable Kindle sales. I see Kindle readers all over the place, and can't remember the last time (if ever) I've seen a Nook reader anywhere. Maybe the head start Amazon got with the early release of the Kindle gave it a jump over the competition. Whatever the reason, a conversation I had in a coffee shop today convinced me that the Kindle has already won the ebook war.

Sitting in the coffee shop I noticed an older gentleman sitting in the comfy chair, raptly reading a book on a Kindle ereader. It's not unusual to see Kindles in these places, but usually in the hands of younger patrons.

I worked away, occasionally glancing over at this guy enjoying what was obviously a good book. After a while the gentleman went and ordered a coffee, and when he sat back down I approached him. I told 'Bernie', not his real name, that I noticed he had a Kindle and asked him how he liked it. I got a long story about how his daughter gave it to him for his birthday a while back, and while he didn't think he'd like reading on a gadget he's finding it to be very good for reading the novels he likes so much.

One of the primary reasons that Bernie took so well to the Kindle was because it is not intimidating. He doesn't feel comfortable with lots of gadgets, but the Kindle is easy and just does what he needs. He admitted he even finds buying books on the device to be simple and a very pleasant experience.

As a certified gadget nut, it was very gratifying to see Bernie get enthusiastic talking about how much he likes his Kindle. It was clear it has become an important part of his life the way he described it. While the process of reading a book is unchanged since Bernie was a kid, the gadgetification of it has made it even more enjoyable in his eyes.

Toward the end of my conversation with Bernie he told me the only thing he doesn't like about the Kindle is that sometimes he finds free time on his hands when he doesn't have the Kindle reader with him. I pointed at his iPhone sitting next to him and mentioned that he doesn't need to always use the Kindle to read Kindle books. I walked him through the simple process of getting the Kindle app installed on the iPhone, and the look on his face when he opened the book he was currently reading was priceless.

"It knows where I am in the book!" Yes, Bernie, and it always will.

Image credit: Flickr user brewbooks

Topics: Hardware, Mobility

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  • So, the iPhone easily replaced his kindle...

    and you call this a reason why kindle has already won? I think it demonstrates why the eReader war is already lost: because any electronic device with a screen (including all those smart-phones) will soon be able to do it too. Why carry an eReader and a phone when the phone can do both jobs?

    I used to carry a GPS, digital camera, cell-hone, and laptop on trips. Now I just carry my smart-phone and laptop ... and soon, as phones get even smarter, may not even have to carry the laptop.

    I conclude that the eReader will soon be 'consolidated' out of existence.

    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @JonathonDoe Kindle is the ecosystem, not just the reader. And yes, I believe Amazon has already won with the Kindle ecosystem.
      • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

        @JamesKendrick The Nook has an ecosystem equal to the Kindle and surpasses it in others. The Nook apps sync the reading of BN purchased books just like the Kindle. The Nook system also includes a color 'reader' for far less than any available tablet.
        The new 'MyNook' Service will also allow Nook users to sync 'sideloaded' content like library books.

        Speaking of Library books, both the Nook and the Sony readers ecosystems support library books now. The Kindle 'ecosystem' doesn't support that yet, and when it does it will be yet another flavor of ebook for libraries to manage.
      • Nice commercial, but

        @JamesKendrick Keep your facts straight: an older gentleman that isn't comfortable with gadgets but has an e-reader and a smartphone?!
        This should be under soap-opera, not "Mobile news".

      • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

        @JamesKendrick : I can imagine how Bernie's face will look like when he finds that after the draconian Apple policies of attempting of getting 30% of revenue from Amazon for every book sold through the Kindle force Amazon to pull his app from the iPhony.
    • eReaders have a larger screen

      @JonathonDoe <br>I don't know of one person that prefers reading a book via their phone opposed to reading fron an eReader, instead.

      Which is why the book readers I know (opposed to someone like me that reads a short article or something) all have Kindles. The phone fits in your pocket (or purse), and is really no more dificult to carry at the same time along with a Kindle.
      John Zern
      • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

        @John Zern I don't have a smartphone so the Kindle is the cats ass for me! I have a convertible tablet laptop but I have found it too heavy for reading while the Kindle is perfect
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war


      I have a number of readers on my iPhone. The one I use is the Kindle app.
      The One True Fnerd
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @JonathonDoe ,Yes, I agree with your premise but think that screen size will play a big factor, not to mention being locked into one vendo
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @JonathonDoe Yes you can indeed install Kindle on an iPhone, but come on, is it a pleasant reading experience, esp for anyone over 40?

      Kindle on the iPad does it for me.
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @JonathonDoe Kindle has won. Amazon has made it available for almost any device. Kindle is a family of apps and stand alone devices. With the low profit margins Amazon gets for their ereaders they probably don't care if they sell fewer ereaders.
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war


      I don't know if the eReader will be consolidated out of existance or not; and don't really care personally. However, I will say that reading on a cell phone vs. the Kindle device is not the same experience. Yes, it will work in a pinch and may even be more desirable in some circumstances. But the print is smaller and the eInk screen on the Kindle makes it easier to read in brightly lit areas as well as outdoors. So, I wouldn't agree that the iPhone or any phone is an equal replacement to an eReader for a person who loves to read. I know I would more readily read a book of any sort on my laptop or one of my tablets as opposed to reading it on a phone. About the only time I would choose the phone for reading, especially a novel, is when there is no other choice.

    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @JonathonDoe I've tried reading a book off a smartphone. The Kindle experience is a million times better.
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @JonathonDoe - trying to read a book on a tiny phone screen does not appeal to me at all, maybe I am just used to reading on a Kindle and iPad. There is no way a smart phone will replace readers with large screens, especially with the older generation. I would rather see an eReader add phone features.
  • Nook doesn't sync between devices?

    I use Kindle myself (both device and app), the sync feature "makes" the Kindle app. I think the war still has a long way to go but clearly Amazon got it right (or best) first. Unless Amazon really screws up that's going to be a hard dominance to crack.
    • The Nook absolutely can sync between devices. And I can change my wallpape

    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @oncall The Nook color can run the kindle app so it has the best of both. Also the Nook supports the EPUB format and books are available from many more sources than just BN.com and Amazon.
  • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

    ?It knows where I am in the book!?
    Yes, the big brother is watching. This is why I have wi-fi turned off on my Kindle.
    • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

      @Scrabbler Don't forget the tin foil hat.
      • RE: Why Kindle has already won the ebook war

        Too bad they don't sell it as an accessory :)