Apple’s iPad Killing Amazon’s Kindle but Who Will Win E-Book War?

iPad and Kindle costumed characters look to do battle

Is it Apple's iPad or Amazon's Kindle that has the knockout punch?

The war over digital books has just begun and two of the biggest players—Apple and Amazon.com—might be able to find a happy medium. That is, as long as Amazon decides to pull the plug on its Kindle e-book reader. While the Kindle hit stores before the iPad, Apple’s tablet device is putting on an amazing sales show right now. Check out the market figures from ChangeWave Research comparing the two below:

While the numbers are for November only, expect the trend to continue well past the holiday season. What is especially interesting is that the two graphs are just for ebook readers, not tablets. No one can deny that while the iPad isn’t as suited for viewing in direct sunlight as the Kindle (due to Kindle’s E Ink screen technology), it can do a lot more than the Kindle. Between the iPad and the Kindle, only 21% of the eBook reader market is left Graphs from ChangeWave comparing the iPad and Kindlefor Barnes & Nobel’s Nook, Sony’s Reader and the rest of the devices on the market. That’s an astonishingly low number.

So what’s this happy medium that Apple and Amazon could possibly find now that the iPad is putting on a showing as an all-around superior device with e-reader capabilities through Apple’s iBook app? Amazon’s Kindle app for iOS of course. With the number of iOS devices around far outpacing the number of tablets or eBook readers in the hands of consumers, Amazon has seen its eBook sales explode after it released the free Kindle app for Apple’s mobile platform. While I doubt Amazon will be willing to stop selling its Kindle anymore soon (sales are still growing even though the iPad will pass it soon for market share), Apple’s distribution model has to appeal to online book retailers.

Interestingly, both Amazon’s Kindle store and Barnes & Nobel’s Nook store are letting unscrupulous ‘book authors’ to submit versions of free books that are no-longer covered by copyright law in any country. These free books (take some of Charles Dickens works as an example) can be downloaded without charge from a variety of websites in a number of different ways, including PDF, plain text and common Ebook publishing formats. Long story short, don’t fall for paid versions of old books. They’re free everywhere if you just poke around. (Most books are no longer under copyright and thus considered public domain 70 years after the author’s death.)

An ebook reader from Barnes and Nobel called the Nook

You see any Nooks around? Me neither.

Does Amazon’s Kindle and other dedicated, eBook readers have a chance against tablets that can do everything smartphones can as well but on bigger screens? Has Apple already won the eBook war? iBooks keeps growing on me and I love the fact that I can view my books on any iOS device. Going to trade in your Kindle for an iPad this holiday season? Let me know in the comments.

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