People who buy the iPad can choose to use Apple's new iBooks app and bookstore, or they could opt to run Kindle's iPhone app on the device instead.
The decision might just come to down to book sellers. The iPad's iBook store may be new, but the concept behind it is not; it's not all that different from Amazon's Kindle store for iPhone.
What's interesting is that the Amazon Kindle book store will work on the iPad from day one, albeit only in 2x mode (pixel doubling to fill the larger screen). However, as the SDK for the iPad is out now, Amazon has plenty of time to prepare its store for the larger screen of the iPad over the next 60 days.
Books and magazines for the iPad
In theory, if you already own a Kindle (or e-books purchased from Amazon) you will be able to enjoy them right away on the iPad. But the best part of having two (three if you count Barnes & Noble in as well) book stores on the iPad will be diversity and choice. All of the apps are free to download; you pay only for the titles you want to buy, so there's little to prevent users from switching between all three.
My colleague Nick Mediati was commenting last night how the iPad iBookstore is lacking periodicals. But then it struck me - it doesn't matter if the iBookstore don't have magazines; the Kindle store does.
Yet, what's interesting about the iPad is that publishers don't have to rely on book stores for distributing their static content. Instead, they can create their own fully fledged application from the App Store.
Kindle DX vs the iPad
We'll have to compare US price tags, since UK pricing hasn't yet been revealed for the iPad. But over there, the Amazon Kindle goes for almost half the price of the iPad - and comes with free wireless and a full keyboard. The iPad starts at $499, but brings in loads more storage, a larger colour touchscreen, Wi-Fi, and a familiar interface to those who ever used an iPod touch or an iPhone.
Battery life on the Kindle is superior, though - up to two weeks. Yet the Kindle is a single-purpose device with a greyscale screen. Perhaps it would be best to compare the iPad with the Kindle DX, which incidentally also has 9.7in display, and it's only $10 cheaper than an iPad. Here's where the comparison gets tough on Amazon.
The iPad won't probably kill the small Kindle: it's cheaper and performs well at letting your read for an extended period of time without tiring your eyes. But the Kindle DX should prepare for a battering from the iPad if Amazon doesn't drop the price significantly. For only $10 more, the iPad delivers three times the storage of the DX, a colour touchscreen, and an all-round multipurpose device.
If you already have a Kindle though, things might get exciting, as Amazon is preparing to launch apps for the platform as well. Keep an eye though on book prices. Apple's iBookstore merchandise is up to 50 percent more expensive than on the Kindle, which means bigger bucks for publishers, and possibly hurdles for Amazon's store.