iBook Lessons is a continuing series about e-book writing and publishing.
The important thing about e-books is this: the reader matters a lot less than the content. Over time, I've found myself using iBooks less and less and less, as I now turn almost exclusively to Kindle for my iPad reading.
There are several reasons for this. First, I can read my Kindle content on nearly any platform you can think of. Second, Kindle books are cheap. The same tech e-book that costs $36 on iTunes may show up up for $16.20 on Amazon.
Amazon is deeply invested in the "reader thing". Last week, they acquired Goodreads, a popular site for sharing reviews and recommendations. The press release quoted Amazon VP Russ Grandinetti, who said
"Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading. Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike."
You can anticipate that Amazon will start incorporating Goodread's net of recommendations into their reader hardware and software sometime in the near future.
In the absence of an OS X iBook reading tool, some developers are tentatively testing out the waters. Latest to the scene is developer NeoMobili, whose Bookinist website just recently went live. I've signed up to get notified when they launch, and hopefully I'll soon get a chance to test out the promised public beta.
Obviously, third parties will not be able to provide reading capabilities for DRM'ed e-books, providing another strike against buying them from the iBookstore instead of Kindle.
No one is ever going to argue that Amazon has set new standards of excellence for their software. My OS X Kindle app is functional at best, ugly at worst. But in the end, it's the book that you're reading that creates the end-user experience, not how prettily the pages turn.