As the Apple iPad launch date of April 3rd draws ever nearer, and some of the applications start to get previewed, one big question is beginning to emerge of why in the world you would want to buy a Kindle or a Nook now.

While e-readers have been gaining in popularity, especially the Amazon Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook, a serious flaw in the business plan of both companies may be emerging that may see their physical devices become pointless.  If you guessed that flaw was Apple’s iPad, you would be correct.

kindle ipad appAmazon has unveiled its Kindle app for the iPad, and it is impressive looking to say the least, and actually looks to be superior to the actual experience of the Kindle device that spawned it.  While the Kindle languishes with just 16 shades of gray at its disposal, The iPad is brining full color to the Kindle’s books as evidenced by the screenshot shown here.  True there is some debate over what a strain the iPad’s screen is going to put on your eyes, but with a bit of play with the brightness, you should be able to contend with it.

Even beyond the questions of color and eye-strain, you have to wonder what Amazon and Barnes & Noble are thinking with releasing such spiffy apps for another company’s device.  When you buy a Kindle, you are locked into buying books just from Amazon, and with the Nook you are locked into Barnes & Noble.  However, but an iPad, download the free apps from both, add in the iBooks app from Apple, and you have three digital book stores at your fingertips.

Certainly the companies think that getting as many venues as they can for their products is the wise decisions here, and both have been doing the same with other mobile devices.  The problem is that you are now putting them in to a format where you could be handing Apple the e-reader crown due to its seemingly superior format and device.  Why should I spend $249 on a Kindle that doesn’t do much more than show me books, when I can spend $499 on an iPad, get all three bookstores, browse the Web, look at pictures, listen to music, watch videos and more?

There is of course a huge caveat in all of this, and that is that Apple could pull either of the apps at a moment’s notice if it so chose to.  Apple has final say on everything that is offered in the App Store, and if they see either of these apps as taking away too much business from its own iBooks store, than you could very easily see them both yanked for some trumped up reason.  There is every chance this might not happen, or it might very well, it’s a gamble you’d have to be willing to take.

Even with the big disclaimer, it is still a tempting proposition if you are debating an e-reader in your life at this moment.  And I dare the Kindle to make a cinnamon roll look as tempting as the one pictured below.

What say you, is this a huge mistake on the part of the book sellers, or a wise move?

(screen grabs via Engadget)