iPhone siphoning off Kindle buyers, says Fictionwise: One K-owner even dumped his just-bought reader

image Steve Pendergrast, co-owner of Fictionwise, has made a good case for the iPhone and iPod Touch as Kindle rivals in the e-book area.

And, yes, I’m allowing for FW’s ownership of eReader, which runs on the iPh and Touch among other devices.

In the end both the Kindle and the Apple machines will do fine, as I see it. Many Kindle owners couldn’t stand too small a screen. That said, I still think mobile phones are where the real action will be, long term. Some people just want one all-purpose device. Others may fear the fragility of the present E Ink screens.

Later today or tomorrow I’ll run a post full of Kindle love, from Sam Hendrix—but for now, here’s what Steve wrote in our comments area.

30,000 iPhone users going for eReader in just one month

image image "We’ve already got 30,000 people reading eReader books on iPhone/iPod Touch, just one month after launch.

"About ten percent of our Kindle customers have also switched to iPhone/iPod Touch uploads for all or part of their purchases. That began, of course, in mid July.

"I have received dozens of e-mails from people saying they were going to buy a Kindle but once they saw eReader on iPhone they decided against it (in one case they sold their already-bought Kindle the day after reading their first book on iPhone/iTouch).

Suspicious ‘leak’ of Kindle sales figs?

"You can even see several reviews on iTunes of the eReader for iPhone products where people say they decided not to buy Kindles because iPhone eReader worked well for them.

"So this ‘leak” of Kindle sales figures "occurred shortly after the iPhone app store began, anecdotally at least, to dry up their supply of potential customers. Hmmm. I don’t know what the real Kindle figures are, but as they say in politics, the timing seems suspicious."

Related: Is this the REAL Kindle number? 240,000 machines sold?

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.

11 Comments on iPhone siphoning off Kindle buyers, says Fictionwise: One K-owner even dumped his just-bought reader

  1. E-ink is very easy on the eyes. It doesn’t have the slight flicker effect that all LED based screens have.

    The Kindle is for people who love to read, people who cram pocket books in their handbag or back pocket when they go out on errands. It’s easy on the eyes, you can read it in bright sunlight and a battery charge lasts for 10 hours or more if you turn off the whispernet.

    I can’t imagine that a person who loves to sit out on the porch or on the grass or on the beach for hours reading a book is going to be happy with a tiny iPhone screen that becomes virtually unreadable in sunlight. But that person will love a kindle or a sony reader.

  2. Heck, Binko, as I said, it depends on the person. If you are doing lots of reading outside, then E Ink might be the way to go. But then again, if you’re comfortable with a small screen and there’s a shady spot on the beach, then an iPhone might still do the trick. Thanks. David

  3. I read on two devices–a Palm for portability, and an eBookWise when I’m sitting down for sustained reading. I don’t really see these as competitive but complementary. In the medium term, I’d think that getting people reading on their iPhones will help sell more Kindles–assuming that they buy Fictionwise Multiformat books, at least, as these books can freely be moved between the different formats.

    Great news that Fictionwise/eReader is having success with their iPhone eReader. I hope that Amazon continues to have success with the Kindle as well–from the persepective of readers, authors and publishers, choice is a very good thing.

    Rob Preece

  4. Yes, Rob has it right – the machines are complementary. Yesterday it rained for much of the day so I read on the Kindle. There is no way that my iPhone will last for four or five hours of reading.

    On the other hand, when I go to the coffee shop for lunch I read on on the iPhone, since I have it with me anyway.

    More power to Fictionwise! It’s always great to see the “little guy” doing well.

  5. I’ve been a fan of the eReader format – if I have to be stuck with DRM – for a long time. This story sounds encouraging, but I can’t help but notice that every week I am finding more books I want to buy being released in Mobipocket format only.

    I’m afraid that if Fictionwise/eReader doesn’t get with it and convince those publishers to offer more formats, pretty soon it’s going to be the very ugly Kindle by default.

    It’s great they’re spent all this time on the iPhone/iTouch, but they need to make sure there’s enough of the desired content in their format to make the choice worthwhile!

  6. The problem with the Kindle is price. You buy the iPhone or iTouch for other reasons, book reading is an extra.

    I had a Sony reader 50$ cc promotion as mentioned and I gave it away overseas despite that I liked its screen – slow and no backlight, I used it once every two months while I read on my 770 daily and print books too

    The e-ink just was less useful – not pocketable so if I took it in a bag, I could take a print book with me instead for a bit more weight, but less breakage worry, while at home I still needed light for it as for a print book.

    Kindle is faster so I may buy one but not for more than 100$ since I would not buy Amazon drm books anyway so instant delivery is useless – I want a mainstream e, I’d rather pay 3-4$ more and buy a lit or a prc that I can read anywhere. Were a surefire way to read Kindle books anywhere found, the usefulness of the Kindle would increase by a lot to me…

  7. I just started using eReader on my iPod Touch. I had been looking at a Kindle but didn’t want to lug around ANOTHER device. I like reading on my Touch. The only down side that I’m experiencing is the lack of content availability in the correct format. Fictionwise might have a book I want but it tends not to be available in the eReader format. As as far as I can tell, I can’t read a MobiPocket Secure book on eReader.

    If I’m missing something, please let me know.

  8. Yeah, that’s right, you can’t read secure Mobi on iPhone/iTouch yet (unless you crack the DRM—then you can use Bookshelf to read the cracked copy). But I am given to understand that MobiPocket is working on an iPhone version of its reader application, which should let you read encrypted Mobi when it comes out. They hope to have it out “by the end of the year.”

  9. Update: Kindle reader software is now available for the iPod Touch.

  10. Interesting…because I went the other way. I bought my Kindle in February. I had been reading on my iPod Touch since October using eReader. While I like reading on the Touch, I went to the Kindle because eReader/Fictionwise did not have the selection of books that I was looking for. Plus, the Kindle goes longer without needing to be charged. And I can plug my Touch into my stereo and read from my Kindle at the same time.

    Now, I move back and forth between the 2 devices. Sometimes I don’t want to turn on a light so I use my Touch using the Kindle app. It is synched with where I left off on the Kindle device.

  11. @Paul Biba:

    You may want to have your iPhone’s battery replaced. 4 hours for a light weight app like Kindle is pretty bad. My iPhone lasted about four hours today playing Eliminate (a graphics intensive online FPS) on WiFi at my school.

    On the other hand, iPhone batteries are soldered to the motherboard, and Apple charges about $80 to change it, so it may be worth it to get every last bit of the life from the current one.

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