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EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 1671 - November 26, 2007 - ISSN 1539-5065    3 of 4

Amazon Launches Kindle eBook Reader

By Ina Steiner
November 26, 2007

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Amazon.com introduced an ebook reader last week. The Amazon Kindle is a portable reader that wirelessly downloads books, blogs, magazines and newspapers to a high-resolution "electronic paper" display. More than 90,000 books are available in the Kindle Store, many priced at $9.99.

Booksellers on Amazon's Seller Soapbox discussion board discussed whether the ebook reader would pose a threat to their businesses (http://www.amazonsellercommunity.com/forums/thread.jspa?messageID=1662312).

eBay booksellers discussed the new device online as well (http://forums.ebay.com/db1/thread.jspa?messageID=2008343388&forumID=4).

Online booksellers do not appear to be concerned, though some believe the device may impact sales of textbooks. There appeared to be no discussion of Amazon Kindle on eBay's Half.com, a popular site for used books and textbooks (http://forums.ebay.com/db1/forum.jspa?forumID=1000000002).

Kindle costs $399, does not require a computer, and there are no monthly fees. Amazon Whispernet uses the same nationwide high-speed data network (EVDO) as advanced cell phones. Kindle customers can wirelessly shop the Kindle Store, download or receive new content, all without a PC, Wi-Fi hot spot, or syncing.

Monthly Kindle newspaper subscriptions are $5.99 to $14.99 per month, Kindle magazines are $1.25 to $3.49 per month, and Kindle blog subscriptions - which are updated and downloaded wirelessly throughout the day - cost as little as $0.99 each per month.

The device weighs 10.3 ounces, fits easily in one hand, and has six adjustable font sizes. Its built-in memory stores more than 200 titles, and hundreds more with an optional SD memory card. A copy of every book purchased is backed up online on Amazon.com so that customers have the option to make room for new titles on their Kindle knowing that Amazon.com is storing their personal library of purchased content.

Kindle has built-in access to The New Oxford American Dictionary, and seamless access to Wikipedia.org and its collection of over 2,000,000 user-generated articles.

Kindle owners can email Word documents and pictures directly to their Kindle email addresses for $0.10 each. Kindle supports wireless delivery of unprotected Microsoft Word, HTML, TXT, JPEG, GIF, PNG, and BMP files.

Many reviewers and bloggers have been weighing in on the new device. Some give the design a thumbs down, others advise waiting for newer versions with improved features. Someone commenting on the New York Times blog post by Brad Stone gave Amazon two suggestions: give a discounted price for titles that expire after 2 weeks, and give a discount for print book purchases to people who have already purchased the title for their Kindle (http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/enough-about-kindle-10-what-about-kindle-20/#comment-56578).

Publishers and authors can submit their content and make it available to Kindle customers by using Amazon's new Digital Text Platform (DTP), a self-publishing tool that lets anyone upload and sell their books in the Kindle Store (http://dtp.amazon.com).

The Kindle has sold out. According to the Amazon.com site, it will be in stock on December 17, 2007.


About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

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