Amazon aren’t the only ones making a big deal of their new electronic book reading device “The Kindle”. When it was released late in 2007, their stocks sold out in just 5 ½ hours and now they have replenished their stock and are plugging the new gadget on a large Amazon homepage spread.
I’ve checked out the Kindle product video and the letter to shareholders that gives some background on the product and I must say the device looks like it would appeal to anyone who is an avid reader. The device itself is lightweight and fairly slick (although not so much as Apple products!) and the appeal of storing up to 200 books/newspapers etc at once and paying less to buy books will be popular.
It’s a smart idea by Amazon. Not only is it a new somewhat innovating product, however the purchase of the electronic books is only available through Amazon giving them a captive market. It also evolves their business which has been largely composed on book sales so that freight becomes a non issue. Of course there are also multiple environmental benefits as well as benefits to the publishers of not having to physically print books.
So how does this compare to the other book reading products which already exist on the market? eBook tools have been available in various formats for years however I looked at a few of the newer additions to the market:
The main factors with ebook devices are obviously how the book content gets onto the device, the range of books available and the relevant costs.
Amazon are definitely leading the way here with a boasted 115,000 books now available on their reader (from around $9.99) and the device itself is $399 (US$) – cheaper than the competitors.
One of the key features of the Kindle is that the books can be downloaded from anywhere using the same technology as mobile phones (not wifi) and it appears that Amazon pays for the data costs. At this stage, the device is not available to countries outside of the USA though which is why companies like Dymocks are jumping on the bandwagon locally. With all the globalisation and power of technology, it’s amazing that the country walls are up so tightly around electronic devices. First the iPhone and now this is only available to the exclusive USA market. Hopefully that will change moving forward and either way, the Kindle will be an interesting product to watch.