Wayne Schulz over at Gear Diary notes the Amazon Kindle ebook reader is now available as a free iPhone app. We’ve been critical of the Kindle in the past for its fuzzy sales numbers (Amazon claims success but does not release sales data) and for what seemed a 1990s’ portal attempt to tether content to a single device. The new move is brilliant for Amazon because it opens the playing field to millions of iPhone users — and we expect, soon anyone with a smart phone. Amazon still pushes the hardware Kindle as an optimal device by limiting some if its downloading features, such as subscribing to magazines or newspapers, on the phone.
Amazon’s new open platform signals one more nail in the coffin of traditional hardcopy publishing. By 2020 most consumers are expected to use mobile phones to access the web, and if they can pull all books (or soon magazines and newspapers) onto glass screens, wood pulp will go away. This will be driven by both technology and our human greed. Last weekend an online friend recommended a finance book on an issue we were debating via Twitter, so we logged in to Amazon, ordered the book, and felt a lustful twinge of irritation that we’d have to wait several days to get the material in the mail. The web has spoiled us. We want knowledge instantly.
So we’re going to download the Kindle app right now — instant gratification is the future, even if it drains the phone battery.