The Kindle Store is a Killer App. Not the Kindle, but the Kindle Store. A centrally located online repository that, through nothing other than a linked credit card, wirelessly and seamlessly delivers data to a device with no computer, wires, or other software required. Once the Kindle is hooked to its store it pulls books without any more fuss than simply hitting the download button, waiting, and watching the battery drain. It has reviews and ratings and book lists and sorting and it does very well precisely what Amazon does very well: it delivers books. It is the service by which the eBook becomes reality.
With CES around the corner, everyone is looking and waiting in anticipation for the new e-book readers. All of the e-book readers currently available have verious levels of suck with none of them cresting better than “good.” The slate waiting around the corner includes the Skiff, the Que, the Alex, the unfortunately named eDGe, the Copia Ocean, the COOL-ER, the iRiver Story, the Qi, and others to add to the current iLiads and e-Readers and Nooks in all different and varying sizes and shapes and capabilities. They’re expensive. Some work like enormous book-reading PDAs (feature creep) and some display newspapers. What is not clear is where any of them are going to get their content because those of us in the tech industry know that it doesn’t matter how awesome your gadget is — content is King.
Only the Kindle comes out of the box hooked to a store that has Amazon’s power behind it to deliver books to a device.
Sure, the Sony e-Reader has a store and somehow the content gets on the device through a serious of cables and foo. The Nook has theoretical 3G AT&T wireless but the store isn’t online yet (Q1 sometime about the time that they all ship!) But the Kindle has content. It’s not great as devices go but it has content. Real content. Live content. Content people want.
I have no doubt that these devices being presented at CES will all blow the current e-Readers away. But I would like to know where they are planning on getting books from. Without a Great Unified iTunes-like Store to Rule Them All, the devices are ultimately very pretty and extremely expensive PDAs who serve up great looking PDFs. Nice for carrying around business presentations but perhaps not so great for books. Book readers are no good without book stores from which to browse, sample, and purchase books. Right now there is one game in town: the Kindle Store and it will continue to sell Kindles over all the fancy devices.
This can all change with the Jesus Tablet*. WHO KNOWS WHAT THE JESUS TABLET WILL BRING. But we won’t know until the end of the month.
*According to the tech news, the new Apple Tablet is going to cure cancer, solve world hunger, and display ebooks. It is the savior of all Mankind. AMAZING.