Steve Jobs, the authorized Walter Isaacson authored biography, officially went on sale October 24 in the US. But by the morning of October 24 in the Philippines, readers in the Philippines were already skimming through the pages of the electronic version, so to speak. The electronic version of the book was available for download on the Amazon Kindle Store ahead of the release of the physical edition. And at $16.99 (PHP 735.14) it was a steal, 51% off the cover price of $35.00 (PHP 1,514.41) for the hardbound book.
So by the time I got home from work that day, I was able to download the book and start reading it. I was expecting to have to suffer through long lines at a Fully Booked or a Powerbooks, just like the typical Harry Potter fan. But in the digital age, the only queues you have to suffer through happen if a server gets overloaded.
Amazon S3 ably hosts the world’s most highly trafficked websites, so their servers held up to the demands of millions of people trooping online to download the book and be the first on their block to read it.
I heard the book was also available on Apple’s own iBooks online bookstore, but Amazon Kindle was a better deal for me because it allows me to read the same book on a number of mobile devices, from an iPad, to my Android-powered Samsung Galaxy Tab, a motely collection of Android phones, an iPod, a Windows laptop, and a MacBook Pro running OS X.
It also helps that Amazon.com accepts Philippine credit cards for Kindle downloads with no problem.
Since the book weighs in at 656 pages, the digital edition is much handier as well. (The whole book is just 4.39 MB). I intend to be reading this over the next few days. The thought of me lugging around a fat, heavy hardcover book around to meetings and airports is not particularly appealing.
It’s only fitting that I ended up reading the Jobs biography as a neat collection of electrons on some digital device rather than a heavy mass of dead tree by-products shipped over here from a distant land.