iPhone as e-book machine: Warm SDK reception, biz apps should help reading programs

iphone5 The iPhone’s software development kit, along with a host of new biz apps, should mean good news for e-books, just as Paul Biba noted earlier. Developers are increasingly aglow over the SDK, which means that sooner or later someone will come up with the ultimate reader for the iPhone–ideally .epub compatible and just as easy to use as Mobipocket. Here’s a chance for the open source community to act, now that the development tools are there, even if Apple is imposing some restrictions. I’ll also be interested to see what the commercial side does. Steve Jobs has raised doubts about Flash running on the iPhone. Where will that leave Adobe’s Flash-based Digital Editions?

Meanwhile, Apple has released the iPhone 2.0 Software Beta, and it’s clear that the company is making a big push in the business area, complete with new ways to let corporate employees keep up with mail on their iPhones and desktops—via connections with Microsoft Exchange Servers. And that’s relevant to e-books, since many there’ll be that many more iPhones on which apps can piggyback on each other. The iPhone your boss buys you for corporate mail might be just the ticket for e-books, too, at least if the IT department allows downloading of the right software, which it might if the same programs can display corporate documents—well, beyond the usual PDF.

Nope, the iPhone is not going to kill off the Kindle—not everyone wants to read off a small, K-sized screen—but the above is just another reminder of the need for publishers to think beyond the K machine alone.

Related: TidBIT’s plea for Apple to develop an iPhone e-reader and also the reasons why TidBITS is keener on desktops and the iPhone for reading its tech books than it is about the Kindle. Also see Tidbits’ excellent SDK coverage.

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About David Rothman (6820 Articles)
David Rothman is the founder and publisher of the TeleRead e-book site and cofounder of He is also author of The Solomon Scandals novel and six tech-related books on topics ranging from the Internet to laptops. Passionate on digital divide issues, he is now pushing for the creation of a national digital library endowment.

6 Comments on iPhone as e-book machine: Warm SDK reception, biz apps should help reading programs

  1. I’m hoping for both FBReader on the iPhone and Digital Editions.

    Apple seems lukewarm (or outright hostile) to flash, but now that the SDK is out, I’d bet that Adobe does a port of it.

  2. Yoda, I’d be amazed if Adobe doesn’t. I can’t believe it will neglect the iPhone as a DE platform. But the current news doesn’t exactly help. – David

  3. You guys really want to use your fingers to turn the pages of an ebooks – (multi touch gesture).

    It’s cool but doesn’t make much sense.

    Compare a web page that was optimized for the iPhone’s screen with one that was not. The latter is just ants on the screen.
    If you take text (book) and display it with a readable font you will only be able to display what is a fraction of a usual book page.

    The iPhone is great, the SDK is awesome …
    it’s not suitable for book reading.

    If I could plug in my SONY reader or some similar device and “print” on the eInk screen from the iphone… that would maybe work.
    I could store the books on the iphone, do search, annotation etc. and use the eInk device for reading.
    If they can both talk via bluetooth or WiFi I don’t even need to plug it in.
    The eInk device could be cheaper as it can be more dummy, just bluetooth and the screen. All processing done on the iPhone.

    Would be nice to see an eInk screen when you browse iPhone accessories next time.

  4. Heck Tamas, the iPhone isn’t for everyone or everybook. But I love reading novels off my Palm PDA even if it lacks all the wrinkles of the iPhone. No, the iPhone would not be my first choice for an illustrated textbook. Thanks. David

  5. A lot of that depends on the book. If it has a lot of pictures and whatnot, then no, it won’t be readable on a small screen. A novel that’s all text is just fine though. I’ve read many books on my Pocket PC, and it works great… You just have to turn pages a lot more..

    And yes, I’d prefer a larger screen for book reading, but the idea of having my books along with music, movies, pictures, and games all on just one device is what has me excited.

    Small screen for everyday reading? No, probably not. All my entertainment on just one small device to carry around in the airport on the plane? Yes.

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