Smack Down! “The Book vs. The Kindle, Round 1: The Buy Counter”…07.31.09

31 07 2009

Interesting video…but I still want a Kindle!

Kindle 2 Price Drops to $299…07.08.09

8 07 2009

kindle21According to Wired today:

“…Amazon has lowered the price of the Kindle 2 e-book reader by $60. The Kindle 2 will now sell for $300 instead of the $360 it was introduced at earlier this year.

Amazon’s move has put Kindle in a better position to compete with its rivals by bridging the price gap.  Sony’s basic e-book reader costs $280, while lesser known brands such as the Cool-er will set you back by $250…”

List of Libraries Lending Amazon’s Kindle…06.17.09

17 06 2009


Despite the controversy surrounding libraries lending Kindles to patrons, many are doing so.  This is an excerpt from the post Libraries Lending Kindles from the Kindle 2 Review, Kindle DX Review, Books blog:

“…All these libraries, and the people in charge, deserve kudos for pushing the boundaries. This is based on just 1-2 hrs research so its just the tip of the iceberg -

  1. Mary White, Director of Howe Library in Hanover, NH – The Kindle Library Loaning Page. Lending out Kindles since Jan 14th, 2009.
  2. Sparta Public Library in Sparta, NJ have 2 Kindles for lending.
  3. LaCrosse Public Library lends out 1 Kindle.
  4. Rancho Mirage Public Library lends out Kindles, although its unclear whether its internally or patrons can take them home.
  5. Texas A&M University Libraries have 18 Kindles (add your name to the waiting list here)

[15 Kindle lenders in list as of posting]

    Does your library lend out a kindle? Do leave a comment so we can add your library to the list.

    There is also a Facebook Group of organizations and libraries lending Kindles…”

    Amazon Explains the High Cost of Kindles…06.16.09

    16 06 2009


    In the Wired interview Jeff Bezos: Why Is the Kindle So Expensive?, Mr. Bezos explains:

    “…’We did consider [the cellphone model] for Kindle,’ Bezos said in an interview with Wired’s Steven Levy at Wired’s Disruptive by Design Conference in New York. ‘Instead of driving the cognitive complexity of a two-year commitment, [we] just tell people, “This is the actual cost of the device,” he said.

    ‘We sell a lot of cellphones for a penny, and you know, when you’re buying a cellphone for a penny, there’s got to be a catch — and there is’ in the recurring cost of monthly service which is free with the Kindle’s Whispernet service.

    Still, if customers preferred smaller hardware costs and higher operating fees, he would still consider that approach. Bezos maintains that Amazon could have sold the DX for $99, but only with a required monthly subscription of $60 or more per month, or by forcing Kindle owners buy a certain number of books each month.

    ‘[The Kindle DX] is $489, and that is an unbelievably low price for something that has inside it a sophisticated computer, a completely new kind of display of that size, and a 3G wireless radio,’ Bezos said…

    In addition to offering consumers a simpler value proposition, Bezos says charging a high initial rate without a monthly fee lets Amazon keep its Kindle hardware and eBook businesses separate, selling eBooks to Kindle owners as well as readers who use competing platforms such as the iPhone or competing standalone eBook readers, at the same prices it offers Kindle owners…”

    Kindle DX Comparison…06.10.09

    10 06 2009


    Here is an interesting excerpt from a new post titled Supersized Kindle DX Makes E-Reading Easy for a Supersized Price:

    “Another Kindle? It seems that it was only four months ago that we saw a new version of Amazon’s e-reader. In fact, it was only four months ago the Kindle 2 arrived on February 9. What’s the June release have that the February one doesn’t?

    Size seems to matter to the folks at Amazon. While the Kindle 2 has a 6-inch (measured diagonally) e-ink screen — roughly the area of a mass-market paperback book — the DX’s 9.7-inch screen resembles a page from a typical hardback. Put another way, the DX flaunts 2.5 times more display space. More text on a page means more lines and, if you prefer, a bigger font, without having to turn the page as often. What does that mean for you? It’s easier to read via the DX.

    Best of all, the DX was engineered not to feel big. Virtually the same thickness as the Kindle 2, the 19-ounce heft won’t tax your wrists. Its keyboard is actually a little smaller than the Kindle 2’s, so almost all of the DX’s front surface is covered by the screen. This feels less gadgety, more tablety. It’s very comfortable to hold, and as with the Kindle 2, the DX becomes invisible once you become entranced by an author’s spell

    The most glaring hindrance of the DX is its price. It costs $490…

    By elegantly supersizing the Kindle — and ramping up its ability to read files — Amazon has improved the best all-around e-reader available. But the hefty price tag doesn’t fit Jeff Bezo’s stated philosophy of getting the best value for his customers.”

    “Kindle DX – Top 25 Tips”…05.19.09

    19 05 2009

    In case I ever get a Kindle or a Kindle DX, the post Kindle DX – Top 25 Tips will be helpful so it is excerpted here:

    “This is based on the rather well written Kindle DX User Guide (get it in Kindle/Kindle 2 compatible format). More kindle dx tips and tricks will be added when the kindle dx actually releases and has been reviewed and people have played around with it…

    Some of the tips in the Kindle Top Tips list and in the Kindle 2 Top Tips list also apply to the DX – so do take a look at those too.

    Kindle DX – Top 10 Tips


    Kindle DX Specs…05.06.09

    6 05 2009


    As I have mentioned in the past, I would really like and use a Kindle.  The new Kindle DX looks great but it is more costly.  Here are the specs directly from the Amazon Kindle DX site:

    “…Slim: Just over 1/3 of an inch, as thin as most magazines

    Carry Your Library: Holds up to 3,500 books, periodicals, and documents

    Beautiful Large Display: 9.7″ diagonal e-ink screen reads like real paper; boasts 16 shades of gray for clear text and sharp images

    Auto-Rotating Screen: Display auto-rotates from portrait to landscape as you turn the device so you can view full-width maps, graphs, tables, and Web pages

    Built-In PDF Reader: Native PDF support allows you to carry and read all of your personal and professional documents on the go

    Wireless: 3G wireless lets you download books right from your Kindle DX, anytime, anywhere; no monthly fees, no annual contracts, and no hunting for Wi-Fi hotspots

    Books In Under 60 Seconds: You get free wireless delivery of books in less than 60 seconds; no PC required

    Long Battery Life: Read for days without recharging

    Read-to-Me: With the text-to-speech feature, Kindle DX can read newspapers, magazines, blogs, and books out loud to you, unless the book’s rights holder made the feature unavailable

    Big Selection, Low Prices: Over 275,000 books; New York Times Best Sellers and New Releases are only $9.99, unless marked otherwise

    More Than Books: U.S. and international newspapers including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, magazines including The New Yorker and Time, plus popular blogs, all auto-delivered wirelessly…”

    NEW Kindle – The Big Reveal…05.06.09

    6 05 2009


    Amazon taking orders now for the Kindle DX

    TechCrunch reports today:

    “…Bezos introduces the Kindle DX, built in PDF reader. No zooming, no panning, just read. shows off cookbooks, a picture of Sushi doesn’t look too appetizing in gray-scale, however, atlases, and textbooks.

    announcing partnership with three top textbook publishers which account for 60% of textbook sales (Pearson, Wiley and Cengage Learning)…

    Kindle has a 9.7 inch display with autorotation. 3G wireless access to 275K books

    Native PDF support

    3.3 GB of memory

    $9.99 or less for NYT

    $489 for Kindle DX versus $359 for 6 inch display…”






    Pictures of New Kindle DX Released…05.05.09

    5 05 2009

    PC World today reported:

    Yesterday we found out a bigger screen Kindle is coming on Wednesday, today pictures and details regarding the new Kindle DX have surfaced. Amazon’s new e-book reader will have a 9.7-inch display and sports new features such as a built-in PDF reader.

    Dubbed as the DX, the Kindle 2 successor will also have the ability to make notes and highlights on your documents while the 9.7-inch screen (3.7-inch larger than on the Kindle 2) will be optimal for viewing newspapers, magazines and textbooks in a format similar to their paper predecessor…”

    The Boy Genius report today posted pictures of Amazon’s new Kindle DX:




    New Amazon Kindle Announcement Slated for May 6…05.04.09

    4 05 2009


    According to the All Things Digital post New Amazon Device Debuts Wednesday today:

    The last time Amazon (AMZN) held a press conference in New York City was in February, when it introduced the Kindle 2.0. Now it is scheduling one for Wednesday morning at Pace University in lower Manhattan.

    Expect a new, large format device that’s optimized for reading newspapers and magazines.

    Here’s the full text of the invitation that just showed up in my inbox: ‘We’d like to invite you to an press conference scheduled for Wednesday, May 6 at 10:30 am ET. The press conference is scheduled to take place at the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at Pace University, located at 3 Spruce Street, New York City. Doors will open for registration at 9:30 am ET.’…”

    Bill Gates Comments on Amazon’s Kindle E-Reader…05.01.09

    1 05 2009


    Here are the comments by Bill Gates on the Kindle excerpted from  Bill Gates on Jeff Bezos at Time Magazine:

    “Lately, Jeff’s pioneering spirit has taken him in some new directions. He would like nothing more than to be the first to provide a cheap and safe way for anyone to fly into space and started a company called Blue Origin to devise the technology. That’s pretty cool, but his biggest legacy of all might be more down to earth — a modest-looking white-and-silver digital device called the Kindle. This electronic book is Jeff’s brainchild and may well revolutionize not only how we acquire books and periodicals but also how bookworms like me actually read them. That would put him in the same ranks as Johannes Gutenberg.”

    ALSO check out the Kindle user demographics:



    “TOP 50 Kindle Tools Kindle 2 Sites”…04.17.09

    17 04 2009


    Here is the beginning of the information posted today from Top 50 Kindle Tools, Kindle 2 Sites:

    “…Kindle Tools and Software

    1. Kindle for iPhone – Must-Have if you have an iPhone or iTouch.
    2. Mysteria – Great Reminder Tool that lets you keep reminders for when books become available in Kindle format.
    3. Calibre – Kovid Goyal’s One-Stop solution to most of your ebook needs.
    4. InstaPaper –  A fast, easy, free tool to save web pages for reading later.
    5. Kindle Feeder – Send RSS feeds to your Kindle or Kindle 2.
    6. Alex Yatskov’s Mangle (Manga + Kindle) software that lets you create manga for the Kindle.
    7. Free Kindle Calendar.
    8. Free Kindle Weeekly Planner.
    9. Skweezer – Take any page and “squeeze” it into a smaller version more readable on K1/K2…

    Kindle Conversion Tools

    Kindle Games, Cool Stuff

    Kindle Hacks

    Free Kindle Books and Deals

    Kindle Tips

    Kindle Community – Blogs and  Forums…”

    Kindle 2 Text to Speech Feature Garners Supporters…04.08.09

    8 04 2009


    The following is an excerpt from Amazon making Read To Me optional was a great move about the recent concession by Amazon to publishers to limit the great “Read To Me” capability on its recently released Kindle 2 e-reader:

    The Reading Rights Coalition want their Kindle 2 Read To Me ability back and are going after the Author’s Guild with a vengeance.

    There was an actual physical march in New York today. Here are some photos from Flickr and people tweeting about it

    You can support the stand the RRC is taking by signing their online petition.

    Amazon got the best possible outcome

    1. If Amazon had kept Read To Me, they’d be fighting a court case against the Author’s Guild.
    2. If Amazon had turned off Read To Me, the Reading Rights Coalition would be protesting at Amazon’s offices in Seattle, asking people to boycott, and in general creating a PR nightmare.

    By leaving the option in the hands of the Authors and Publishers they are making the Author’s Guild responsible, who in turn are completely messing it up.

    Author’s Guild is making things worse for themselves

    Denying disabled people a feature that lets them actually access books is bad enough. The Author’s Guild are showing a lack of compassion and are really making things bad for themselves  -

    1. They came up with a hare-brained idea where disabled people could ‘prove’ their disability and then use the Read To Me feature.
    2. People are putting forward completely ridiculous arguments supporting the Author’s Guild.
    3. They’re issuing careless statements …”

    Kindle 2 Review…03.31.09

    31 03 2009


    There is an extensive review posting of the Kindle 2 titled Kindle 2 Review + Video Review worth checking out if you’re thinking about getting and/or using this amazing new product.  Here are some excerpts:

    “It’s been 2 weeks and 2 days since I got my Kindle 2 and after reading through 4 full books I absolutely LOVE IT!   Here’s a comprehensive Kindle 2 review and a kindle 2 video review.

    It’ll help you get a very good idea of whether you ought to buy a Kindle  2 and the videos show the screen very well.

    Kindle 2 Review – What It Looks Like

    The Kindle 2 is a good looking device -

    1. The white color looks a bit plain – however, it makes it easy for the Kindle 2 to fade into the background and the book you’re reading to take center-stage.
    2. Kindle 2 is very, very thin.
    3. The keyboard is tiny – tiny buttons, tiny lettering.
    4. The Next Page and Prev Page buttons have been modified so there are no longer accidental page-turns.
    5. The back is now polished metal – however, the battery is non-replaceable…

    What Reading a Book on the Kindle 2 is like

    Reading a book on Kindle 2 is -

    1. Very enjoyable. I find it a bit faster than reading an actual book.
    2. Much, much more enjoyable than reading on a computer screen.
    3. Does not tire your eyes.
    4. The 6″ screen size is a little smaller than ideal – 8″ or 9″ would work much better. One out of Kindle 3 and KindleText is going to have a 9.7′ screen.
    5. The ability to change font sizes makes things very enjoyable.
    6. Read To Me is a good feature. Do note that now its up to publishers on whether to allow the feature or not.
    7. Kindle 2 fades into the background.
    8. Page refreshes are relatively quick…

    What Reading a Book on the Kindle 2 is like

    Reading a book on Kindle 2 is -

    1. Very enjoyable. I find it a bit faster than reading an actual book.
    2. Much, much more enjoyable than reading on a computer screen.
    3. Does not tire your eyes.
    4. The 6″ screen size is a little smaller than ideal – 8″ or 9″ would work much better. One out of Kindle 3 and KindleText is going to have a 9.7′ screen.
    5. The ability to change font sizes makes things very enjoyable.
    6. Read To Me is a good feature. Do note that now its up to publishers on whether to allow the feature or not.
    7. Kindle 2 fades into the background.
    8. Page refreshes are relatively quick…”

    Amazon to Help Blind and Visually Impaired With Kindle 2 Navigation…03.24.09

    24 03 2009


    Amazon has said on its Kindle blog:

    We’ve heard from many of our blind or vision impaired customers who are excited about Kindle 2’s text to speech technology. Some of these customers have asked that we make Kindle even easier for them by adding navigation accessible to the blind.  We want to let those customers know that this is something we are working on and we look forward to making it available in the future.”

    It sounds as if future incarnations of the Kindle will include Braille markings which is good. However, I wonder how many Americans know the great resources available to the visually impaired and physically handicapped by the National Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped at the Library of Congress which “through a national network of cooperating libraries, …administers a free library program of braille and audio materials circulated to eligible borrowers in the United States by postage-free mail.

    Wisconsin Library Begins Lending the Kindle 2 e-reader…03.23.09

    23 03 2009


    The Wisconsin Library Association blog today posted Mequon Library First in Wisconsin to Loan Kindle 2 today:

    “Linda Bendix, Library Director at Frank L. Weyenberg Public Library in Mequon, says an anonymous donor has made it possible for the library to loan out a Kindle 2. Capable of holding up to 1,500 electronic books and retailing at $360, the device already has 25 patron holds on it. The Journal-Sentinel story states that Weyenberg’s Kindle comes loaded with 10 books. Magazines and other resources may be added at some point, depending on patron interest.”


    Here is part of a related AND important post relating to lending Kindles from Palinet on their Kindle and ebook reader notes :

    “…When the original Kindle came out, some libraries considered using it as a circulating device.

    When asked directly, Amazon said that libraries lending the Kindle are violating the Terms of Service. But when asked directly by someone else (see comments in the link), Amazon gave a different answer

    Only if empty? – This February 2008 post noted a Library Journal report that an Amazon spokesperson said “a loan of a Kindle without content is OK but sharing a device loaded with content ‘with a wide group of people would not be in line with the terms of use.'” So unless a library is in the expensive-device-lending business, Kindle is not suitable for library circulation. Rochelle Hartman, who began this investigation, concluded that Kindle isn’t a good choice for libraries even before the “only if empty” response.

    Is the Kindle 2 any different or has Amazon changed its policies? Once again, it seems to depend on who you ask.

    According to Mary White of Howe Library in Hanover, New Hampshire, that library checked with Amazon before ordering Kindles and was assured that it was legal to circulate content to patrons–and, further, told her that a purchased title can be loaded simultaneously onto a maximum of six Kindles attached to the same account. Howe Library purchased three Kindles (with donated money) and spent $130 to purchase 13 titles, loading the same titles on all three machines. The machines circulate for one week with no renewals (as of mid-February 2009, there were more than 60 people on the waiting list). The accounts are deactivated on each machine, so patrons can’t load new content–and patrons must be over 18 and sign a financial responsibility statement.

    But when Rochelle Hartman asked another Kindle support rep on February 20, 2009, she received this answer:

    Thank you for asking about using kindles in libraries. As stated in the terms of service, a library issuing loaded or unloaded kindles to individuals is against the TOS.

    Gerrit van Dyk pursued this question in a March 13, 2009 post. Here’s how it went:

    On the phone, the Amazon rep. and I reviewed the public policy found here under section3. Digital Content, subsection Restrictions:
    Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content.
    Amazon said this only applies to for-profit ventures. ‘If you’re gonna let someone borrow the Kindle just to read a book, you should be fine.’
    Since my interlibrary loan department does not charge for interlibrary loan use, we would essentially be loaning for free. Good news to our library and many others I would guess. I am looking forward to seeing how this affects our collection development and patron reaction when we implement the service.
    …[Since Amazon reserves the right to amend any terms], I recommend everyone who is interested in loaning Kindles in libraries first contact Amazon for the customized OK.

    Conclusion? It’s either OK or not OK to circulate Kindles, with or without content, depending on who at Amazon you ask.

    If you do circulate Kindles be sure to deregister the Kindles when you circulate them–unless you’re willing to have library patrons charge new books to the library’s Amazon account. You can reregister the readers to add new titles…”

    Amazon Says It Is OK to Lend Kindle 2 in Libraries…03.13.09

    13 03 2009


    Shaping Libraries says today in its post Amazon: “OK to Lend Kindles in Libraries”: 

    I have written before about my interest in using Amazon’s Kindle for circulation and interlibrary loan. Yesterday I received a response from Amazon about doing so. On the phone, the Amazon rep. and I reviewed the public policy found here under section3. Digital Content, subsection Restrictions:

    Unless specifically indicated otherwise, you may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content.

    Amazon said this only applies to for-profit ventures. ‘If you’re gonna let someone borrow the Kindle just to read a book, you should be fine.‘…”

    Read About Kindle 2: The Amazon Kindle 2 E-Reader

    Kindle 2 vs iPhone…03.13.09

    13 03 2009

    “In this episode of Killer Apps, Slate’s Farhad Manjoo reviews the new Amazon Kindle application for the iPhone and how it compares with the experience of using Amazon’s own e-book reader.”

    MUST SEE – WATCH: iPhone vs. Kindle


    Amazon Kindle Software on the iPhone and Kindle 2:

    Kindle 2 List of Top Tips & Hacks…03.10.09

    10 03 2009

    Kindle 2 Tips + Kindle 2 Hack List – Top 25 is a post today from the Kindle, Kindle 2, Kindle Books Reader 2.00 – Amazon Kindle 2 Review that lists the following tips and hacks if you have a Kindle or Kindle 2:

    Kindle 2 Tip #1 – Read To Me Shortcuts…

    Kindle 2 Tip #2 – Top Shortcuts…

    Kindle 2 Tip #3 – Change Spacing and Number of Lines Per Page…

    Kindle 2 Tip #4 – Pictures on your Kindle 2…

    Kindle 2 Tip #5 – Screen Saver Options for Kindle 2…

    Kindle 2 Tip #6 – Access Free Kindle Books via Kindle 2…

    Kindle 2 Tip #7 – Restart Kindle 2 in 2 seconds…

    Kindle 2 Tip #8 – Delete a Book or item from your Kindle 2…

    Kindle 2 Tip #9 – Mp3 Player Shortcuts…

    Kindle 2 Tip #10 – Navigating within Newspapers and Magazines…

    Kindle 2 Tip #11 – Change the dictionary used by Kindle 2…

    Kindle 2 Tip #12 – Kindle 2 PDF Conversion…

    Kindle 2 Hack #13 – Kindle USB Internet Hack from Jesse Vincent…

    Kindle 2 Tip #14 – Kindle 2 Customer Support…

    Kindle 2 Tool #15 – ePub to .mobi Tool by Jesse Vincent….

    Kindle 2 Tip #16 – Kindle Text Entry Shortcuts…

    Kindle 2 Tip #17 – Search Shortcuts + Tips…

    Kindle 2 Tip #18 – Recharge your Kindle Battery when it’s at 20%…

    And you could also check out the Kindle Tips – Top 25 list that I had created for Kindle 1 for tips like reading blogs for free on Kindle 2.”

    Kindle App Available for Apple’s iPhone…03.04.09

    4 03 2009


    The Boy Genius Report says today in its post Amazon Kindle app comes to the iPhone :

    “If you’ve been feeling left out because it seems everyone and their moms are grabbing a Kindle and you spent your tax refund on an iPhone, Amazon has come to the rescue! On March 3, Kindle for the iPhone has been released and is free in the iTunes App Store. …Tons of great Kindle features are there, too, so you can adjust font size on screen, make notes and highlight content. The only catch is that the app can’t access the Kindle store and purchases have to be made through the browser… If you’ve been mulling the purchase of a Kindle and can manage reading on a much smaller screen, you might want to consider giving the Kindle for iPhone app a shot.”

    New Amazon Kindle 2 hands-on review and Amazon Changes Text to Speech Feature…02.28.09

    28 02 2009

    There is a good new review of Amazon’s Kindle 2 by the Boy Genius Report today titled Amazon Kindle 2 hands-on review whose conclusion is related below.  LISNews today reports that “Amazon announced today that it will let publishers decide whether they want the new Kindle e-book device to read their books aloud.”

    “…Last but not least is the Text to Speech function. This experimental feature actually works better than expected. It reads the text back in a computerized voice but does so with surprising clarity and proper enunciation. It is not as ‘sterile’ and ‘robotic’ as expected. It won’t replace audible and all those folks upset about this feature should not be concerned about book lovers opting for the Kindle audio version of a book over the audible version. The Text to Speech lacks the intonations, inflections and drama that a real person reading would bring to a book. Nonetheless, the Text to Speech is quite listenable and is a great accessibility feature to boot.

    Overall Conclusion

    Kindle 2 PROS:

    • Whispernet service makes book searching and purchasing a breeze
    • Kindle 2 is thin, well-balanced with a nice layout of buttons
    • QWERTY keyboard makes entering text easy and allows for features like note taking and web browsing
    • Text is crisp and easy to read with minimal glare and the screen refresh is quick
    • Navigation is easy and intuitive

    Kindle 2 CONS:

    • Device is a bit long due to the presence of the QWERTY keyboard
    • Side buttons are a bit awkward to press as you have to push the inner edge and not the outer edge of the button
    • 5-way controller can be difficult to use
    • Cost is a bit prohibitive and you need to purchase a case asthe retail pack does not include one

    Overall, the Kindle 2 is a gorgeous looking device that makes digital book reading a joy. For those looking to make the jump into the digital book reading experience, the Kindle 2 is an excellent choice and the experience it provides will be tough to match with a competitive reader. The price tag of $359 is a bit high, especially when you consider the extra $30 you’ll need to shell out for a cover. Never the less, the ability to have all your books on one device and new content accessible via a wireless connection is indispensible and lessens the sting of the high price tag. If you are an avid book reader and have the cash on hand, the Kindle 2 is definitely the way to go. Amazon did a fantastic job and while it might not live up to the hype surrounding its launch, it most definitely came a whole lot closer than we expected.”

    © Copyright Boy Genius Report Inc 2006-2007

    Kindle Student Version May Be Coming Soon…02.27.09

    27 02 2009


    TechCrunch reports: Kindle Student Edition Rumored to Be In the Works

    “Reinventing the Kindle (part II)”-Ideas from Seth Godin…02.25.09

    25 02 2009

    Marketing phenom Seth Godin has some very interesting suggestions for Amazon’s use of Kindle 2 in his post Reinventing the Kindle (part II) this week which is excerpted here:

    “…1. Give publishers (throughout this post, when I say publishers, I also mean self-published authors) the ability to insert passalong credit with a book. So, if you buy a book, it might come with the right to forward it, for free, to two other people who also have Kindles. Three clicks and you just spread the book…

    2. Give publishers the ability to send free samples of new books to people who have opted in… 

    3. Anytime I send someone a book (see #1) or recommend a book, let me (with the other person’s consent) see the comments they write in the margins of the book as they read it. Imagine being able to read a novel this way with your book group, or a sales manual with your department.

    4. Create dynamic pricing. As a book gets more popular, allow the publisher to give a rebate to the first # of  readers… either all or part of a book. If I get good at reading hit books first, I’ll end up paying close to nothing but be rewarded for my good taste and ability to sneeze ideas.

    5. Let anyone become a publisher with just a few clicks.

    6. Demolish the textbook market as soon as possible by publishing open source textbooks for free. It’s only natural that profit-minded professors will work to replace this by using #5.

    7. Give publishers the ability to insert quizzes or feedback. This creates a certification or continuing ed or textbook opportunity far bigger than a book can deliver.

    8. Allow all-you-can-eat subscriptions if the author or publisher wants to provide it…

    9. And my last one, which I think I mentioned earlier, but it’s so good, I’ll mention it again: ship the Kindle with $1000 worth of books on it. I’m willing to contribute a couple of titles, and my guess is that most authors would.

    It’s pretty simple: many book publishers look at this new medium and ask, ‘how can I use it to augment my current business model.’ I’d like Amazon to challenge that thinking and say to the world, ‘how can you use this platform to create a new business model?‘…”

    NEW Kindle 2 Release Day–Wired Product Review…02.24.09

    24 02 2009


    Here is an excerpted version of Wired‘s review of Kindle 2:

    The most notable feature of the Kindle 2 (’s long-awaited update to its groundbreaking but somewhat flawed electronic reading device) is that it’s possible to pick it up and not turn the page. This sounds like faint praise, but anyone using the original Kindle quickly found the oversized buttons covering both sides of the device made grasping it a delicate, stressful task — kind of like picking up a sea urchin. Anything less than perfect finger placement would lose your place.

    Not so with the Kindle 2, which fixes that problem and a host of others through thoughtful, businesslike improvements and innovations.

    Are the improvements big enough for the Kindle 2 to spark an iPod effect, causing bookstores to shutter, forests to grow unchecked and the tomes on our shelves to disappear, replaced by plants and bobble-head dolls? Not any time soon.

    The evolution toward e-reading devices as the dominant means of reading books will be a drawn-out and complicated affair. It will require screen technology with inexpensive, high-resolution color, multitouch and flexible displays. These are all features that the Kindle, as well as competitors like the Sony eReader, are still waiting for. A mass-market solution will also involve pricing that acknowledges how much cheaper it is to distribute books digitally; currently Amazon sells e-books for about half the price of their hardcover equivalents. But for now, the Kindle 2 is the closest thing to this magic formula…

    The strengths of the device are the same. The dense, readable display and paperback size allow readers to sink into an author’s world just as they do with a physical tome. But this “book” is augmented by digital technology, allowing you to store hundreds of manuscripts, search through them, and look up words in an onboard dictionary, on the web or through Wikipedia. It also has a free wireless connection to the Amazon Kindle store — now hawking 230,000 books (as well as magazines and newspapers).

    The most dramatic changes are in the physical design. Abandoning the quirky shape of the original, which was meant to evoke the form of a real book, the designers boiled down the shape to a pencil-thin (.36-inch) slab, which feels completely natural in hand. Though you can buy an “official” $30 leather cover (it has special hooks that keep the device in place, something that was missing in the original), I found it most comfortable to read bareback. But if you’re into playing it safe, I’d recommend one of the third-party neoprene cases available on…

    The Kindle 2 is zippier, with pages turning 20 percent faster (yes, you can tell the difference). It has more memory (2 gigabytes, enough for storing up to 2500 books onboard). And it flaunts a more powerful built-in battery: Amazon claims that the Kindle lasts four to five days with the wireless on (I got 4.5 days in my first test) and up to two weeks with it off. After a week of limited wireless, my meter is around 50 percent. Amazon also says that after 500 charges, it will hold 80 percent of its original juice. That means that most users won’t have to replace the battery (a $60 procedure) for about a decade or so

    But text-to-speech works just as well with your own content — you can upload Word files into your Kindle for a dime apiece.

    Looking over the horizon, it’s clear that Amazon’s biggest competitor in selling digital books will be Google, whose recent agreement with publishers and authors will make it a virtually exclusive seller for millions of books in copyright but not in print. But right now at least, the Google and Amazon formats aren’t compatible: I was unsuccessful in getting a PDF of a public domain book downloaded from Google to appear in readable form on my Kindle…

    WIRED The best e-reading system on the market. Welcome improvements to aesthetics, more functional industrial design, better graphics and longer battery life. Sleeker than the original: A third of an inch thick and 10 ounces.

    TIRED Quite expensive. Book content shackled with DRM. Interface is improved, sure, but it could be even better.”

    © 2009 CondéNet, Inc.

    Tim O’Reilly Speaks About the Kindle…02.20.09

    20 02 2009

    Here is an excerpt of an interesting interview posted yesterday on InformationWeek between David Berlind and Tim O’Reilly, O’Reilly Media founder and CEO, titled Tim O’Reilly Unplugged: The Kindle 2 And Transforming Industries discussing Amazon’s Kindle


    Tim O’Reilly: “…I think the Kindle has gotten a number of things tremendously right. I think the experience of buying a book is seamless, beautiful... it’s one click and that is very very powerful. You have to wonder why Amazon is so set on tying it to single device. After all, looking back to Web 2.0, one of my key principles was software above the level of a single device.

    I’m sure that they looked at what Apple accomplished with the iPhone, or the iPod, rather, which of course led to the iPhone, and they said ‘Wow… a device gives you this possibility of lock-in and attractive profits.’ The problem was that there was a huge loophole that made the iPod possible and that was called MP3. People could rip their own music. So, there was this huge ecosystem of effectively free music where people could load in the music they already had from CDs and then they could start to buy. I don’t think the iPod would have taken off at the same level if people had to buy everything from the get-go. There’s nothing like that for print books. Or, there hasn’t been anything like that for print books.

    Now what’s really interesting is that it’s starting to happen for print books. Google (NSDQ: GOOG)released its Google book search — released their service for the iPhone. Stanza from Lexcycle has lots and lots of public domain books. Of coure, the Kindle does, too; it certainly has a collection of public domain books. But, even though the form factor [and] the battery life of the smartphone is nothing like the Kindle, even though the buying experience is far inferior, I think you have to place a bet on the general-purpose device. If we look at the history of computing, [the general-purpose device] tends to win. And when a special-purpose device has worked, it sort of worked because it provides other functions as well — it somehow tied into that bigger ecosystem.

    Now there is something that Jeff Bezos said. He said that ‘We want to give you access to every book ever published.’ That would suggest that either they’re going to make a deal with Google on the Google Library Project and get all those books in there or they think that’ll just eventually happen. But they may have something else up their sleeve. But it didn’t show in [the release of the Kindle 2]. They also made hints leading up to this announcement that they were going to be making some kind of announcement of the Kindle as software platform available on other devices. We didn’t see that, either. But those would, I think, be very very powerful plays in my mind.

    How do we combine what Amazon did well with what they haven’t done yet well. I think a very concrete example of the difference for us at O’Reilly is in the fact that the Kindle does not support many of the formatting features that we need for our books. We use a lot of tables. We use monospace fonts for code. And none of those things are available on Kindle. They are available in the open format ePub, which is basically a variant of HTML, and that’s why all of our books are available for the iPhone. We’re putting almost everything out in ePub and that’s a real challenge because it’s easier for us to do the right thing on the open platform. It’s hard for us to do the right thing on the closed platform and Amazon is telling us ‘Well, you guys are a specialty publisher and there’s not enough demand for those features for us to put them in.’ It’s the old open source vs. proprietary model again, where open source just outperforms.

    So, in some sense, there’s this big strategy tax on the Kindle that says we have to have a proprietary format and we have to have proprietary hardware and it’s a gamble. I wouldn’t necessarily bet against Jeff Bezos. He’s a brilliant guy and has done so many things right and has enormous strategic staying power. So, I’d hate to bet against him. I’d love to be on the Kindle. We are on the Kindle, to some extent. But so many of our books, we just can’t have a good user experience with because of the formatting issues. But I do have that concern, the open vs. closed…”

    Copyright © 2009 United Business Media LLC, All rights reserved.

    “Kindle 2 Tips & User’s Guide”…02.18.09

    18 02 2009


    (photo: © Copyright 2009, Charleston City Paper )

    I found the following useful information on the Kindle 2, Kindle 2.0 Books Reader, Amazon Kindle 2 Review site.  I just wish I had the cash to get a Kindle 2.  :-(  I would trade in my XBox 360 and gaming, etc… for one. 

    “Waiting for the 24th Feb Kindle 2 release date, and suddenly realized that the Kindle 2 User Guide must have some interesting details (thanks to Kindle Chronicles for the tip). And I do find it rather disconcerting that the Kindle 2 User Guide is a PDF -

    Basic Kindle 2 Tips

    1. To turn the Wireless On/Off – Press the Menu button, then use the 5 way controller up to underline ‘Turn Wireless On/Off” and then press the 5-way button to select.  
    2. To Change Text Size on Kindle 2.0 – Press the Text Key (Aa key), move the 5 way controller to choose the size you prefer, and then press the 5-way to select. 
    3. To Use Read To Me (Text to Speech) – Press the Text Key (Aa key), move the 5 way controller down to the Text To Speech row, and then select 5-way to start Text To Speech. You can also use the Aa Key and then 5-way to change the speech rate and the speaking voice.   
    4. Look Up the Dictionary – use the 5-way controller to move the cursor in front of the word you want defined. A definition appears at the bottom of the Kindle 2’s Screen. Press the Return key on the keyboard to look up the full definition.
    5. View your Content – Press the Home button on the Kindle 2.
    6. Read Newspapers and magazines – Pressing the 5-way controller’s left and right buttons, you can move to the next and previous articles.  Also, pushing the 5-way bring up the periodical’s section list.”

    The post goes on to list more specific Kindle 2 tips.

    Kindle Will Survive and Flourish…02.17.09

    17 02 2009

    From PC World comes The Kindle: It’s Not an IPhone today from Scott McNulty of MacWorld which is excerpted here:

    Ever since Amazon announced the Kindle 2, pundits and journalists have seemingly made a cottage industry out of doing two things: 1) explaining that, since it isn’t an iPhone, it will fail and 2) listing the features it needs in order for Amazon to convert those selfsame pundits to Kindle lovin’ fools.

    Let’s ignore, for the moment, that those same people derided the iPhone as an expensive toy when it was first launched and focus instead on the one thing that most ‘people in the know’ are overlooking. The Kindle, as a device, is immaterial to Jeff Bezos’s stated goal of allowing people to access every book in every language in under 60 seconds. Sure, Amazon will gladly take your money for a Kindle 2 (I must admit that I pre-ordered mine while it was being announced, and I already own a first gen Kindle and a Sony Reader) but the secret to the Kindle isn’t the device itself–it’s the Kindle Store.

    The Kindle Store makes it ridiculously easy to buy e-books. You push a button (thanks, one-click buying!) and around 60 seconds later there’s a book on your Kindle. Browsing on your laptop and see a book you want to read on your Kindle? Buy it, and the next time you turn on your Kindle the book is automatically downloaded…

    Amazon knows how to sell things, whether it be physical books, tents, kitchen appliances, or e-books. I bet you (and this is where we enter the land of speculation, so strap on your seat belts) that in the not too distant future you’ll be able to buy Kindle books from Amazon on your iPhone. Better yet, you’ll be able to sync your place in a book across multiple devices, and since you’ll have your books on both a Kindle and an iPhone–no matter which device is with you at any given moment–you’ll never forget your place again. Sounds like a killer implementation to me… 

    There you have it, folks. While Amazon might not sell a boatload of Kindles (and no, the Kindle will never replace your iPhone, nor was it even meant to compete with it) Amazon will make up the difference in volume…of e-book sales…

    © 1998-2007, PC World Communications, Inc.

    “E-Book Revolution–Kindle And Beyond: 15 E-Reading Devices, Apps You Need to Know”…02.16.09

    16 02 2009


    “…While this week’s unveiling of Amazon’s Kindle 2 makes the device the hot item in e-readers, the Kindle’s hardly alone in the expanding market for e-reading devices and applications. saved you the trouble of rounding them all up by taking a long look at what’s out there.”

    See their slideshow for more information.

     Copyright © 2009 United Business Media LLC

    “Libraries Loaning Kindles”…02.14.09

    14 02 2009

    The following post from the Shaping Libraries blog entitled Libraries Loaning Kindles is something that I have thought about recently as I’m sure have others. There are links for further consideration which may be helpful:

    “I have been looking into the possibility of libraries using the Kindle to support circulation and Interlibrary Loan now for about 6 months. Now that Amazon has released their second version of the eReader, I thought I would share some of the things I have found on the web about libraries using it. If you know of others, by all means post in the comments.

    New Kindle

    Textbooks and kindle


    licensing discussion private blog

    more licensing

    discussion on patrons purchasing direct with the Kindle and how to prevent this

    new jersey library loaning kindle

    Kindle 2 Audio Feature Brews Copyright Charge…02.11.09

    11 02 2009

    LISNews  post Author’s Guild Claims Kindle 2 Copyright Infringement today:

    The Kindle 2 has a feature which allows the book to be read out loud. And wow, does this have the Author’s Guild up in a tizzy.

    ‘They don’t have the right to read a book out loud,’ said Paul Aiken, executive director of the Authors Guild. ‘That’s an audio right, which is derivative under copyright law.’

    Amazon is moving forward with the rather logical opinion that there’s no way a person would confuse the computerized text to speech voice with an audiobook.

    So all of you youth librarian types doing story time? STOP IT. You’re violating copyright and you’re probably doing it more ways than one since you’re not only reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom out loud, but you’re putting on a public performance.

    Boing Boing Gadgets has the run down. More on this story from the Wall Street Journal.”


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