Posts Tagged ‘iBooks’

Reading on the iPad

I’ve been carrying an iPad since the second day it got released in the United States… That makes me somewhat of an early adopter. I’ve been reading e-books on the iPad using iBooks (via O’Reilly’s Safari) and also via GoodReader when people release them as PDFs. I never did purchase an iBook or Kindle book until recently.

Last week, right before a long flight back from San Francisco to Kuala Lumpur, I decided to purchase: The Upgrade: A Cautionary Tale of a Life Without Reservations by Paul Carr. I had enjoyed reading his previous book, Bringing Nothing To The Party: True Confessions Of A New Media Whore, which he at one stage even released as a free PDF.

GoodReader has been my most popular application on the iPad. And I do a lot of reading using Instapaper. But for books? I bought an iBook using my US-based iTunes account, and I read the entire tome from Carr on the flight back. I was hooked.

This weekend, while sitting down in a hotel in Seoul, I decided to try my luck with the Kindle. Lo and behold, I can do one-click purchasing using my Malaysian-issued credit card. Now you’ve got me hooked! First I used the Mac application — figuring out though I would not be reading too much on the Mac (I really only read technical books on my laptop, and that is served very nicely from the Safari bookshelf).

Next I proceeded to download the iPad/iPhone application (they’ve made it universal). Enter my username and password, and I’m off to reading straight on my iPad. I paid for three books last night and have already made some headway in reading one.

I can highlight bits of writing, which is a lot better than me dog-earing books and sometimes forgetting to come back to snippets. Now with Kindle? I have a webpage, in where I can see what I’ve highlighted, write notes, see my own highlights, see other people’s public notes, and lots more. I forsee that right after I’m done reading, I can just save my highlights in Evernote, and I’ll have a digitally searchable copy of everything.

This changes the way I read. This changes the way I buy books (currently I bulk purchase them every couple of months, since I visit the United States pretty often). This also probably means I’ll have a lot less to carry in my travels.

The Kindle experience so far beats the iBooks experience for me. Of course, to buy a book, I’ve got to do it via a web browser and not in-app (thanks Apple for making life a little more difficult for me). Makes me wonder how much longer my Audible subscription will stay alive…

All that said, the iPad has become a whole lot more useful for me. And an iPad upgrade for myself to the iPad 2 has become a whole lot more appealing as well…

What do American digital content sellers have against the rest of the world?

I live in the “rest of the world”. I do not reside in the USA. Why is it I cannot get content that I’m willing to pay for?

As a preamble to this, you might want to read an article in The Economist: Cupertino’s cold warriors: What has Apple got against eastern Europe?.

The iTunes store is a major pain point. I can buy Apple hardware in Malaysia, be it iPhone’s, iPod’s, Macs, and more. But when I visit the iTunes store, I can only purchase apps for the iPhone (the iPad store opened recently). Why can’t I purchase music/movies, legally? So you’ll say why not visit Amazon’s MP3 store. Bam, I can’t make a purchase there either.

The iPad’s come with iBooks. Its a fabulous book reading application. I cannot purchase books from the iBook store, but I can purchase ePub formatted books, say, from O’Reilly’s Safari bookstore. What about the Kindle – its available in quite many locations, but only where AT&T is present – so some rather “odd” countries show up in the availability lists. Why can’t I purchase books, legally?

I’ve been a long-time subscriber to audible. Audiobooks mean I don’t have to take a trip out to the bookstore. Chances are, I might get audiobooks cheaper than the dead-tree versions available in Malaysia. Today I got an email from Audible, telling me there’s a book I might be interested in. True enough, I was interested in The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World. Who couldn’t be, after listening to the most amazing The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal?

Of course, I get greeted with the magical message:

Download The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World | David Kirkpatrick | The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World Audio Book unabridged | Audible Audiobooks |

That basically reads:

We’re sorry. Due to publishing rights restrictions, we are not authorized to sell this item in the country where you live.

Sorry David Kirkpatrick, I tried to give you some money, but apparently, you’ve decided to shaft the rest of the world.

Sadly, this situation is not much different in a first world country like Australia. Sure you get the iTunes Music Store (you are paying a premium, in comparison to exchange rates), and eventually the iPad becomes available for sale, but its always behind the US. So its not an isolated third-world 1Malaysia problem. Of course not – Singaporeans still suffer from the lack of the iTunes Music Store, and they’ve been a first world, industrialised nation, since 1996.

When will American content sellers realise that the Internet lacks boundaries?

When will they realise that limiting based on geolocation (Android marketplace) or credit cards (iTunes store) is so 20th century? Incidentally, there’s a petition out there for Google: Enable paid apps for all countries on the Android Market!. Its okay Google, you’re not the only retarded one here – the BlackBerry AppWorld is no better; PayPal is available in Malaysia, but you can’t buy apps either.

You push globalisation to the core, yet you refuse to embrace it.

Give us the content that we want to pay for. It doesn’t matter where we are located. Really.