While we've been wondering why publishers would agree to lock themselves
into Amazon's ebook system via DRM, one possible dampener was the high price of the Kindle device itself. At $359... you need to read a lot of books to make that a worthwhile purchase. And, plenty of people have been asking whether other platforms -- most notably the iPhone -- might start to eat into the Kindle's market. It might not be quite as nice for reading books, but it's a device people already carry around. So, rather than denying that the competition existed, just weeks after introducing the second generation Kindle, Amazon will now allow Kindle books to be purchased for reading on an iPhone
. The process is a little cumbersome, and the experience isn't quite as good, but you have to hand it to Amazon for recognizing that it's better to try to co-opt the competition rather than let it take you over (if only other businesses could learn that same lesson). Yet, if I'm a book publisher -- again, this is a bad sign. It gives Amazon even more power in the market and more leverage in the future. Giving Amazon lock-in via DRM may turn out to be the dumbest move some publishers ever made. If they had focused on open standards then there might be real competition and a lot more interest in ebooks.