I’ve been reading books on the iPhone with the free Stanza application. And right after I heard about this excellent program, Amazon purchased Stanza, and the guess is that it intends to replace its own Kindle reader for iPhone with Stanza.
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading on the iPhone. Because one can change the font, the font size, the font color, the background color, and even the margins of the page, it’s an experience far superior to, say, reading an article on a web page in Mobile Safari.
While Amazon’s new version of the Kindle is selling way better than the original model, it now seems to me a fair bet that Apple has already been playing with this idea. And so, while I never like to try to guess Apple’s plans — and certainly never to bank on them — I’m going to officially throw in with all the folks who are assuming that Apple will announce some form of media tablet this summer. I think they’re even going to get into selling eBooks, although it would seem smart of them to get in bed with Amazon on that deal.
All of this gives me high hopes for the publishing industry, which has suffered greatly in recent years. I also hope that electronic distribution will save authors and publishers from the chains of the big book retailers such as Barnes & Ignoble and Borders, who have had a chokehold on the industry for too long. Unfortunately, small bookstores will get probably even more screwed in the process.