Microsoft gave the ebook market a shot with its Microsoft Reader (software that I actually liked using on my suicided Toshiba GENIO 550g PPC), then sort of lost interest.
Sony came on the scene with what I still consider the best damned piece of hardware and software for ebooks, The Sony Reader. But that Connect Store and desktop software ain’t no iTunes Store or iTunes software! (It is also worth noting that the desktop software is Windows-only!)
Now Apple will have a portable pocketable take-along-everywhere device in millions and millions of people’s hands in less than two days. Must I really say iPhone?
And Apple has the software and retailing advantage over Sony. Unlike Sony, it has made a success of selling videos.
I don’t think everyone wants to do nothing but listen to music, watch videos, or even access the web all the time. Two of those activities require headphones. The third — given the EDGE network — requires a bit of patience.
The missing element for the Apple iPhone is ebooks.
They are a natural for it.
And Apple is the natural company to finally break the backs of the print publishing dinosaurs and stomp down the current egregious prices for ebooks. Look at this front-page sample from the Sony Connect Store:
Robert Ludlum’s (TM) the Bourne Betrayal
Eric Van Lustbader
Print List Price: $25.99
eBook List Price: $17.99
CONNECT Discount: 20%
You Save: $3.60
What is wrong with that picture? Everything!
Steve Jobs has the muscle and the vision to change that.
Are you listening, Steve?