iPhoneWhat does it say about teenagers when a “significant number” in a survey—hardly all-inclusive, granted—are willing to pay $500 for an iPhone?

And yet people worry about even $100-$200 being too high for dedicated e-book readers.

The M Word

Interestingly, the phone is a multipurpose device, and beyond the styling, that could make a difference. Let’s hope that e-books can be among the apps that flourish there. Whatever form factor it takes!

I still see a future for dedicated readers, OLPC-style machines and other multifunction gizmos, including whatever could reach us from the world of Palm Platforms.

The content angle:

While certain students may be willing to cough up $500 for the machine itself, I don’t see that as invitation for either high-priced books or high-priced music. There’ll be too much competition over the long run, from both legit and pirate sites.

Meanwhile Apple Insider reports that “the percentage of students downloading music continues to rise, up to 83 percent from the 79 percent. However, most (64 percent) are reportedly using free music sharing networks instead of paying for music legally, down just 8 percent from 72 percent in Fall 06. Of those students who say they legally purchase music online, 89 percent said they use iTunes, down slightly from 91 percent.”

Speaking of piracy: Normally I don’t link to sites with pirated material, but as an example of the challenge for copyright holders, the well-publicized and -financed Scribd is certainly getting on the map as a pirates’ haven. It took me all of five seconds to call up Harry Potter material. As with eBay, I hope the publishers act or at least put Scribd on notice—while at the same time understanding that J.K. Rowling and like-minded people in the business have contributed to the problem by not authorizing legal Potter e-books and the rest.

And speaking of multifunction: Boing Boing on new audio player that also displays e-books.


  1. The problem with the iPhone is that it is a closed system: It is entirely possible that Apple will not allow *any* of the eBook providers to implement a client that runs on it. Note that this is not (exactly) the T’o’eBable problem — one provider or many isn’t relevant until Apple decides that they want this capability to be available _at_all_.

    I will not by an iPhone until there is *some* path that allows third party apps to be developed for the device. I’m not worried about the eBook providers stepping up to it, once they can.

  2. […] Mix the mainstreaming of social software over the past couple years with a device like this and step back. Twitter was just the start. Still, the iPhone might also find use among ebook users (though what we really need is a browser-based book reader) and for other purposes […]

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