Could Mobile Phones be a Kindle Killer?

The launch of ShortCovers, an ebook selling website that offers free reader software for iPhones, Blackberrys and G1 phones, is potentially offering up some real competition for the Amazon Kindle. Short Covers sells all kinds of books in a digital format and customers can read these books using the mobile device they already own.

On the surface this sounds like this could wipe out the need for the Kindle. However, there are a couple of reasons I think that this will not happen. First, in order to read the digital books purchased at ShortCovers you have to be online at the time you want to read. Of course with Kindle, you download your book once and then you’re offline and reading wherever you want. Just heard from ShortCovers that you can read offiline with their readers. I stand corrected.

Secondly, phones are so much smaller than Kindles. Reading an entire book on a mobile sized screen may be too difficult or exhausting to cause a big threat to the popular digital book device.

What I see actually happening is that Short Covers, which also offers book excerpts, articles, blog posts and other short content to be read easily on mobile, will help fuel the desire for digital content. People will get used to reading stuff wherever and whenever they want and grasp that this doesn’t mean lugging around physical books all the time.

So, no, I don’t see ShortCovers killing the Kindle. I actually see it as a “gateway drug” for technically inclined avid readers.