New Kindle; Same High Price

Yesterday, Amazon held a press conference to formally introduce their new eReader, the Kindle 2, at the Morgan Library (symbolism or irony?). Photos show Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos brandishing a Kindle displaying a page from the Lindisfarne Gospels. Irony may be the operative word here, since it clearly shows that, although the Kindle 2 displays more shades of gray than the earlier model, it cannot yet rival a four-color book, or even a computer screen, as a display device.

But the point of the Kindle, at least for now, is not to reproduce heavily-illustrated books. As Bezos asserted when asked about Google’s larger catalog of scanned books, Amazon has newer titles and bestsellers; “We have tens of millions of customers buying books from us every day, and we know what it is that people want to read.”

News articles note these improvements to the device:

  • It has seven times the memory and is slimmer than its predecessor (living up to two attributes of new technology, that it always gets smaller and faster)
  • It’s the same price as Kindle 1, $359 (not living up to the third attribute of new technology, that it always gets cheaper)
  • The battery door is now fixed so it doesn’t flop open
  • The keyboard design is better, but not yet really cool
  • It allows for speedier downloads
  • You can sync between Kindles and cell phones (so you can read a book on your cell phone, then pick back up where you left off on your Kindle)
  • It can “read” the book to you, using speech-to-text technology, setting off concerns by the Author’s Guild about audio rights.

Stephen King, also at the press conference, has written a novella specifically for the Kindle, called Ur. It will be available exclusively on the Kindle for a limited time.

The Wall Street video explores what’s cool, and what isn’t, about the new device:

A selection of stories on Kindle 2 (Google News search shows nearly 1200 articles):

One Response to “New Kindle; Same High Price”

  1. StephanieInCA Says:

    The Kindle is great for convenience (although I still think a lot of the downloadable media is overpriced), but I’m surprised more people aren’t talking about the potential security/free speech implications of the digitization of books.