Amazon’s Monopoly: Selling, But Not Reading

Exclusivity and e-Books: Incompatible?

If a reader owns a Nook or a Sony Reader, or, god forbid, no e-reader at all (gasp)–then that reader is left with the option of reading the book on Amazon’s Kindle for PC application…

Amazon has a selling monopoly (and we’ll see how long the American government permits that!), but not a reading monopoly.

This distinction is important.

The exclusivity deals Amazon has affects only people who invested in eInk devices.

If you bought a Sony Reader, a Nook, or some other device, hey, too bad for you. You’re like the guy who bought CP/M a year before the IBM PC came out.

Such obsolescence happens all the time.

But Kindle format books are available for more devices than the crude eInk Kindle device.

Kindle books can be read on the 100 million iOS devices — iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad. And Android devices running 1.6 and higher. And Blackberry. And on the desktop with Windows or Mac OS X.

So, the Kindle device itself is now just a very small part of what has become a huge base of Kindle eBook accessibility.

If anyone should be complaining about lock-in, it’s owners of the Sony Reader. It’s limited to that device and the desktop (Windows/OS X). Want to read a book you bought from Sony on a different non-eInk portable device? There’s no app for that!

As much as everyone else, I don’t like the idea of any one company having a selling monopoly. This is something that will cause Amazon a great deal of pain at some point (especially with its Windows app not having the built-in ability to load in MobiPocket books!). It will be interesting to see what happens.

If you’ve invested in ePub, learn some skills to transfer your eBooks to the Kindle format. Or learn to live with what you have.

Hey, my huge eBook library is entirely in ePub. I know what this will be like.

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