It Doesn't Matter if People Read eBooks on the iPad or Kindle: Amazon Still Wins

After months of believing that the iPad was a superior ebook reader compared to the Kindle, I finally bought a WiFi-only Kindle and saw the light. More accurately, I saw the reflected light from my Kindle’s e-ink screen that was nicely readable in sunlight and other conditions where the iPad was not. I also learned to appreciate the Kindle’s lighter weight and the more affordable $139 price. Ah-ha! I thought. The Kindle does have life to it! It will continue to thrive. But, that’s not what ChangeWave found in survey results reported in All Things Digital.

Kindle Feels iPad’s Heat, Sees E-Reader Lead Going Up in Smoke

ChangeWave’s survey indicates that the iPad rapidly closed the e-book reader gap between August and November. The percentage of people reporting using the iPad as their primary reader doubled from 16% to 32% while the Kindle saw a dramatic drop from 62% to 47%.

While this may look bad, it is probably not as bad as it looks for Amazon’s Kindle. Here’s why:

1. The overall number of iPad and Kindle devices purchased are going up. The general purpose iPad appeals to more people than simply frequent book readers and is outselling the Kindle by a huge margin. The Kindle is probably experiencing overall device growth. It is simply not as explosive as the iPad.

2. My guess is that a significant percentage of the people reading ebooks on the iPad are using the Kindle app and buying ebooks from Amazon’s Kindle store. The net result is that Amazon owns a large percentage of the iPad book buying market. In other words, they make money no matter which hardware platform is purchased and used for ebook reading.