Mike Shatzkin posted a piece yesterday that seemed to me to have the ring of truth about it. Asking the question, 'Will Amazon's current domination of the US ebook market persist?', Shatzkin answers firmly, 'No.'
He goes on to explicate the lack of a genuine compatibility between Amazon's strengths in physical product supply, handling and selling and their replication of the model for ebooks. He makes the same point about their customer base model not migrating to ebook selling either.
In the past 12 months, Amazon has built a similar customer-base advantage with Kindle. But as the ebook market grows and matures, the view from here says they won’t have the same success trying to grow it. In fact, we are probably at or near the high-water mark for Amazon’s dominance of ebook sales.
Shatzkin then lists five very sound reasons why the ebook market in the US, and globally, will slip from Amazon's grasp. All good points, but number 3 stood out for me:
3. There will be new app stores for iPhone competitors: Android and RIM, for sure, but perhaps also verticals by device manufacturer and/or telephone service provider.
Towards the end of last year, it struck me that mobile was going to be huge for e-reading in 2009. Not only was Stanza storming the beaches but there were notices proliferating about App Store clones - Android, RIM, Palm - and network decks opening up to the fittest apps - Vodafone and GoSpoken, and T-Mobile.
So, as far as ebooks on mobile go, I think it's probably safe to quip: the future's bright, the future's... erm Orange?