Amazon hopes Kindle will spark interest in e-books
By Tom Abate
San Francisco Chronicle
Taking its cue from Apple, Amazon.com has introduced a $399 device, called the Kindle, in the hopes of creating a market for electronic books, much as the iPod popularized paid music downloads.
Kindle premiered to Applesque hype, complete with adulatory broadcast interviews and fawning magazine articles quoting Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos calling the gizmo, "the most important thing we've ever done."
But the long, sad history of e-books demands skepticism, even from favorable reviewers.
"This is probably the first e-book reader that's worthy of criticism," quipped Michael Gartenberg, a consumer technology expert for Jupiter Research. He thinks the Kindle, although not perfect, has better visuals and wireless access, which make it "potentially a game changer."
Erik Wilde, a computer scientist and electronic publishing expert at UC Berkeley, said the Kindle has some advantages over competing gadgets - the $299 Sony Reader lacks wireless downloads, for instance. But Wilde said the Kindle does not allow readers to clip a passage and e-mail it to a friend - a feature that would give it a capability that no paper book ever had.
Kindle has arrived. Long live the book!
I’ve been a bookworm for as long as I can remember. My shelves at home are groaning under the weight of books that go back to my early reading days. They’re starting to stack up on the floor too. I have a ‘to read’ stack, a ‘must re-read stack’, a ‘recently read’ stack and several random stacks.
So ‘Kindle’ should be the answer to my prayers, and save me from having to move house within the next year or so too.
Amazon’s new ‘ipod of reading’ is an amazing idea.
Amazon electronic book offers new opportunities
Amazon’s founder Jeffrey Bezos was on stage in New York this week announcing the imminent release in the US of what he hopes will be the new ‘killer’ handheld device: an electronic book-reading console called Kindle.
Whilst not as aesthetically pleasing as the iphone, Kindle is still an intriguing proposition: long and slim, with electronic ink that mimics the appearance of paper - if not the feel - and with a back lighting facility that allows you to read in any light, Bezos believes its introduction could herald a step change in our consumption of books and newspapers. Retailing at about £200, users will be able to download books over a wireless connection accessing the extensive Amazon back catalogue of over 90,000 titles for about £2.50 a throw.
Thoughts on Kindle
I think the e-book technology as well as the market are still not mature enough to address the needs of the general consumer market. Five years is my best guess on when everything will come together.
However, there are market segments which are not only ready but in severe need of e-book. One good example is the K12 market. Kids today have to carry insanely heavy textbooks to school everyday. And those textbooks are too expensive and often too scarce for parents to buy second set of every semester. That's the market ready to pay hundreds of dollars for an e-textbook device and services. That's also a great market to foster user-created content community: notes, tests, translations, tips, and lessons created, shared, and sold to teachers, tutors, and parents. Feynmen Lectures? Think Super-Mom's Easy Geometry slideshows or Don Park's How to Speak Konglish video.