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Old 11-18-2007, 08:12 AM   #1
Nate the great
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The "Kindle" iPod of reading - Newsweek scoops

Newsweek apparently scored at least one interview about the Kindle. Here are the juicy parts:

Quote:
...the Kindle (named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge) has the dimensions of a paperback, with a tapering of its width that emulates the bulge toward a book's binding. It weighs but 10.3 ounces...
The design was deliberate.

Quote:
The Kindle gets as many as 30 hours of reading on a charge, and recharges in two hours.
If we can get an honest 20 hours out of it with the wireless, I'll be happy. But it's not good enough to get me to give up my PRS500.

Quote:
In addition, the Kindle can venture out on the Web itself--to look up things in Wikipedia, search via Google or follow links from blogs and other Web pages. You can jot down a gloss on the page of the book you're reading, or capture passages with an electronic version of a highlight pen. And if you or a friend sends a word document or PDF file to your private Kindle e-mail address, it appears in your Kindle library, just as a book does. Though Bezos is reluctant to make the comparison, Amazon believes it has created the iPod of reading.
Some more Kindle details from the article:
  • 6-inch E Ink screen
  • Price: $399
  • weighs 10.3 ounces
  • 30 hours of reading on a charge, and recharges in two hours
  • has a "sleep mode"
  • built-in memory holds 200 e-books
  • allows searches within e-books
  • wireless capability through "Whispernet" (based on EVDO) which extends the Amazon store
  • "buying a book with a Kindle is a one-touch process."
  • Over 88'000 e-book titles will be available on launch
  • NYTimes bestsellers priced at $9.99
  • First chapter of almost any e-book for free
  • Available newspaper subscriptions: the Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Le Monde
  • Available magazine subscriptions: The Atlantic
  • Subscriptions to blogs also cost you something!
  • Lookup features for Wikipedia, Google Search
  • Private Kindle e-mail addresses to communicate with other Kindle users
  • Development of the Kindle began in 2004

I added some more details from the interview -- Alex

Last edited by Nate the great; 11-18-2007 at 08:35 AM.
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:29 AM   #2
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Old 11-18-2007, 08:50 AM   #3
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I am also curious how Whispernet connectivity will influence the "30 hours of reading on a charge" statement.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:29 AM   #4
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This could work, whether or not it is (as I think) ugly as sin. Much depends on what sort of DRM is built into the system, and who imposes the DRM: Amazon or the publishers. I've already made the promise to my readers: No DRM of any kind, ever.

On the other hand, it's still unclear what publishers will have to do (or more to the point, pay) to get titles into the store. That matters a great deal too.

$400 is a lot of money, so the public may not be as nuts about the damned thing as we gadget freaks are. Let's watch.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:42 AM   #5
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Well, I'd be totally nuts about htis device, but EVDO is coming up again and again and that makes it useless outside the US and also makes it seem more and more unlikely that I will ever get one here in Germany and be able to use it...

I still have a tiny glimmer of hope because
1) some of the whispernet references were found on the .uk site of amazon and
2) mobipocket books are already sold internationally

I hope we'll finally get some definite information tomorrow...I have the day off tomorrow so I should be able to follow everything closely...^^
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Duntemann View Post
This could work, whether or not it is (as I think) ugly as sin. Much depends on what sort of DRM is built into the system, and who imposes the DRM: Amazon or the publishers.
Given that Amazon own MobiPocket, it would be sensible to assume that Amazon will use Mobi DRM, which really isn't too "onerous" on anyone.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:45 AM   #7
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That little tidbit about it having "sleep mode" sounds good too...
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:55 AM   #8
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So I guess the significant question for me is whether I (as a publisher) will be able to opt-out from Amazon's DRM technology and sell unencumbered books on the system.
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Old 11-18-2007, 09:59 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
Given that Amazon own MobiPocket, it would be sensible to assume that Amazon will use Mobi DRM, which really isn't too "onerous" on anyone.
The question is will those Mobi e-books for the Kindle also work on other Mobipocket-capable devices? It's not difficult to imagine that Amazon added some kind of flag that would restrict an e-book to a specific device type.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:02 AM   #10
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I have to admit when I saw the first pictures of the Kindle I thought that it was just a functional prototype and they were setting the bar really low so whatever they came out with would look better. I can't believe that they're actually releasing that design.

I keep reading comparisons between this and the iPod launch but can they not see how sexy the iPhone packaging is compared to this? People want functionality but they also want to impress when they pull out the device. The screen will impress but I don't think the average person can get past what they wrapped around it. The conspiracy voice in my head is saying that they are trying to make this fail so they can say they've thrown the whole power of Amazon behind it and people still don't want electronic books.

I really hope I'm wrong but I'm very disappointed if this is the final design. I had been so looking forward to this launch.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:05 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Barcey View Post
The conspiracy voice in my head is saying that they are trying to make this fail so they can say they've thrown the whole power of Amazon behind it and people still don't want electronic books.
They paid a LOT of money for MobiPocket; they must have had a good reason to spend all that money.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:07 AM   #12
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Quote:
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So I guess the significant question for me is whether I (as a publisher) will be able to opt-out from Amazon's DRM technology and sell unencumbered books on the system.
What formats are you currently selling your eBooks in?
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:07 AM   #13
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What I am wondering is if it is standard mobi format, can others purchase the books who do not have the Kindle.
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:18 AM   #14
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Jon, see my last questions four posts above
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Old 11-18-2007, 10:48 AM   #15
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Hmm. Lot's of potential ways they could stub their toe with the Kindle. They are trying to do a lot with it. And especially after seeing the pictures, I don't have a lot of confidence that it will have the comfortable feel of using a Sony Reader, and $399 is a lot to spend on something that might not work well. The first "real" reviews from tech sites will be very interesting.

Here are the features (beyond the basics) that sound really exciting to me:
# Over 88'000 e-book titles will be available on launch
# NYTimes bestsellers priced at $9.99
# First chapter of almost any e-book for free

Yay! First chapter free! Why didn't Sony Connect do this? All it does is increase sales and get people more familiar with the purchase process. And what could it possibly cost them, other than sales of books to a consumer that even want it after they see it? That can't be good at all, except for really bad authors.

TadW has a great point about the format. If they lock the MobiPocket format delivered over WhisperNet or WiFi to the Kindle only, that's a sad thing. Not as terrible if they can also read DRM'd mobipocket from other sources, but not great. I'd like to see how well it handles formats like txt, RTF, PDF, HTML (and ePub) also.

I have to ask... given the sort of things that the device does, is e-ink the best choice for display? I might have liked it with a nice backlighted LCD display, decent battery life, and zippy response.

Btw, my favorite quote from the article... "the e-book reader is coming of age".

But bottom line is always how it works when it is in your hands, so I'll certainly give it a chance in the meantime.
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