It looks like the iPad could be the best Kindle ever. Usersof the tablet device have access to the same range of books available on the eReader thanks to Amazon’s Kindle App for the iPad, but with the added benefit of a color touchscreen and access to the Web and other media content.
Amazon can use this device to boost book sales through its Kindle platform. After all, Amazon is in the content business, not the device business. Books for the Kindle are already available on for the iPhone, iPodtouch, BlackBerry, Macs and PCs.
“The more screens Amazon can get content on, the better,”says ABI Research analyst Jeff Orr. “Amazon is fundamentally a content distribution company, and they want to have access to all the different platforms and screens used to engage in their content. The iPad is yet anotherway to do that.”
Amazon’s Kindle App for the iPad has several advantages overApple’s iBook eReader app. For one, Kindle provides access to more than 450,000 books, blogs, magazines and newspapers whereas iBook had just 60,000 titles at launch.
Also, content downloaded through iBooks is only available on the iPad; it can’tbe viewed on any other devices – even Apple’s own products. By comparison, content purchased through the Kindle app can be viewed on all of Apple’sproducts as well as BlackBerry handsets and personal computers.
To make matters even more favorable for Amazon, iBooks andthe iBookstore is only available for use in the United States. By comparison, the Kindle for iPhone app is available in more than 60 countries, the Kindle for Mac app is available in more than 100 countries and the app’s iPad version does not list any geographic limitations.
The fact that Apple was allowing Amazon to run an app on the iPad that directly competes with an in-house app – and appeared to be doing a better job of it – raised more than a few eyebrows.
However, Apple’s main objective is to sell as many iPads aspossible while capitalizing on the apps running over its platform – including sales through iBook. The company said iPad users downloaded more than 250,000 ebooks from Apple’s iBookstore at the launch of the device.
Amazon benefits from device sales, too – the Kindle remains the top-selling product on Amazon.com – but the company’s main shtick is content. The Kindle is one way of distributing that content, but so are BlackBerry devices, computers and Apple’s various products. Amazon sells six Kindle books for every 10 physical books sold on its Web site. If you include the addition of books available for free on the Kindle platform, that number gets pushed even higher.
An Amazon spokesperson was unavailable or comment, and the company doesn’t give out information on how many Kindles it’s sold or how much money it makes selling digital goods over the Kindle platform. However, the company’s latest earnings show that 49 percent of sales came from media, 48 camefrom “electronics and other general merchandise” and a final 3 percent came from random sales.
Amazon’s revenue stream is fairly well diversified, and while it’s too soon to declare whether the iPad will render eReaders obsolete, Amazon’s business model seems well-positioned to benefit from the additional sales of books over a new platform.