The App Store

So what if Apple rejected Sony's latest e-reader app?  Apple probably hasn't bothered to submit iBooks to the Sony Store.  Or is there even such a thing as a Sony Store - in the way that there's an App store or, in amazon.com's case, I guess just a "Store"?

And I'm not particularly worried about what this means for the Kindle App, or what it means for the App Store.  Or for all the people who buy Kindle books and then someday perhaps lose the ability to read them on their iPad; or, heaven forfend, simply can't buy Kindle books on their iPad anymore, even if they can still read them 'til their eyes glaze over.

Of course, I can't predict how this will unfold exactly; but I think that Apple would be shooting themselves in the foot if they either kick the Kindle app out of the App Store or back Amazon into such a corner where they feel like they need to withdraw in order to protect their margins.  And Apple doesn't often shoot themselves in the foot.  Kontra notes a couple exceptions, then offers some excellent analysis of the current imbroglio.

A colleague or mine suggested that losing in-app purchasing on the iPad Kindle app might force him to switch to an Android tablet.  I can't see how this makes sense for most people, though.  How much does one need to have sunk into Kindle books before replacing an iPad with an Android tablet is a net gain?  And, if the iPad is so centrally an e-reader for such a person, why are they not already using the cheaper, lighter, easier-to-read Kindle?  Or why not supplement with a Kindle?

I realize I'm an outlier, but I still haven't spent any money on e-books.  All I have is Project Gutenberg stuff, because I'm still not sure how much I'll read on a tablet and because there's so much goodold stuff that's kept me busy when I do want to read on the iPad.  I've gotten a lot of these same free books in both iBooks and Kindle, and (granted, I'm not looking that the best examples of e-books out there, in terms of design and layout) can't see a huge difference between them.  If I started buying e-books, I think I'd lean towards the Kindle store because it currently gives me the most flexibility as to how and where to access my library, and therefore feels a little more future-proof than iBooks.  But this is a mild preference, which I haven't even really expressed yet monetarily.  So what does my opinion matter?

The whole discussion seems to me akin to deciding how you want to start ripping a 1,000+ CD library (10 years ago).  You're going to invest a bunch of time and effort.  Do you go with a proprietary encoder, or MP3, or something more esoteric (albeit maybe technically superior)?  Either way, you need to weigh your options BEFORE you start, and make the best decision based on the things you value.  I had a little bit of sympathy for my adult friend who had a few hundred dollars or DRMed music stuck in WMP and his Zune when he finally came to realize the iPod's superiority.  But only a little.  I think the big problem right now is there's no easy way (at least that that I know of) to get access to a bunch of ePub content along with the features you want with that access:  highlighting and notes, syncing bookmarks/placeholders, (other cool stuff I don't even know about?).  The analogy would be moving MP3 files with their ID3 metadata from WMP to iTunes five years ago.  But if and when that comes along, that will make things more interesting...at least to me.

Incidentally, Marco Arment wrote a wonderful paean to the Apple App Review Team yesterday that is worth three minutes of your time.