There has been a lot of speculation over whether or not Apple will introduce a Tablet version of the iPod Touch. So far rumors have indicated that Apple might just introduce such a device. The device is rumored to have a large 10 inch screen, which many seem to think would be ideal to use as an e-book reader. Brian Chen of makes an interesting case as to how Apple could re-invent the e-book marketplace with the device.  He makes a very novel suggestion that Apple might sell books on iTunes and allow the sale of individual chapters of a book as well. The idea being that you should be able to buy sections of books when wanted, just like how you can now buy songs instead of complete albums on iTunes. Its a great idea, and as he points out, students who often have to refer individual chapters in different expensive text-books would be the primary gainers. He also suggests that people, say sci-fi fans, may also prefer to buy individual stories instead of entire collections.  Being a long time fan of anthology collections , I’d say this is very far fetched. For one, unlike music, I don’t think people buy an entire book just to read one story, or a couple of stories. Reading anthologies in my opinion is more about sampling work from different authors or seeing how a single author evolved over time or what a single author is capable of (apart from enjoying some well crafted tales). Besides that, Amazon may be already beating Apple to this concept. You can now buy a select number of single stories at the store, or so it seems.( I’ve seen Asimov’s Robot Visions available for about 79 cents.) So should iTunes offer stories as he visualizes, I doubt it will be that big a game changer. That apart, I wonder what kind of battery life the device will have. I imagine with a bright 10 inch color display, the batteries will run down quite frequently with constant use and I’d hate to constantly charge the device while reading. Lastly, the article contends that the tablet will be able to do a lot more than the average e-book reader (play music, watch video, run applications, surf the net etc.). Well, I’d say – so can the average netbook :). You don’t need an expensive tablet for that. All said and done, I really don’t think that the Apple tablet is a serious contender for the Kindle’s throne.

In the end, as I have said earlier, it boils down to pricing. After all, to quote Steve Jobs:

It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore. Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.

And the one’s that do read aren’t in a hurry to leave their dead tree books behind. After all, thanks to a vibrant second hand marketplace, most dead tree books can be bought at extremely cheap prices (in comparison to their digital counterparts), and can be disposed off as well.  If Apple can come up with a price point and business model for e-books that correctly reflects the benefits of going digital, I’m sure in the future they’d be able corner the e-book market as well. Just getting out a gorgeous tablet isn’t really going to cut it.

Did you like this? Share it: