The rumored Apple tablet and Amazon

July 27th, 2009  |  Tags: , , ,  |  3 Comments

According to the Financial Times, Apple will release a tablet computer this Fall and has been in talks with book publishers to provide content for the device. Jason Kottke glosses this report, speculating about the implications for Amazon:

[I]f it runs apps from the App Store (“yes” seems to be the general consensus), you’ll be able to read books in the Apple tablet format *and* in Amazon’s Kindle format (with the Kindle app), which can’t be happy news for Amazon, hardware-wise.

Kottke’s take assumes that Amazon is more interested in selling Kindles than they are in selling content for Kindles. I don’t believe that could possibly be the case.

Consider that Amazon makes far more money on Kindle content than it ever could on Kindle hardware. (Recall that “Kindle content” means “sets of DRM-enfeebled bits that are free to manufacture, cannot be resold, and list for roughly 80% of the purchase price of physical books that contain the same information.”) Nothing prevents Amazon from releasing a Kindle app optimized for any hypothetical future Apple device. If the Apple book-purchasing workflow is smooth enough to threaten Amazon’s dominance in the retail chain (and it may well be), Amazon need merely add a “search for and purchase books” option to their Kindle app.