The Book 2.0

According to a new Newsweek report, entitled The Future of Reading, Amazon will introduce a device this week that could usher in the long-awaited ebook revolution. It is called the Amazon Kindle, named to evoke the crackling ignition of knowledge.

jeff bezos with the kindle theme shadowed on his face

According to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (pictured above),

This is the most important thing we’ve ever done…. It’s so ambitious to take something as highly evolved as the book and improve on it. And maybe even change the way people read.

And, he may have actually done it. Only time will tell. According to Newsweek, the Kindle:

  • Weighs 10.3 ounces.
  • Is about the size of a paperback book.
  • Can hold 200 books itself and more on ancillary memory cards.
  • Uses the display technology of E-Ink, which can be read equally well in bright sunlight or dimly lit environments.
  • Can provide 30 hours of reading on a single charge and can be recharged in two hours.
  • Has a built-in keyboard.
  • Provides the ability to search inside the book, highlight passages, and take notes.

None of this is particularly new. Other devices, such as the Sony Reader sport similar technologies. However, the Kindle has something no other device to-date has offered: Internet connectivity. This will enable you to download entire books with a single click. It does this via Whispernet, a technology that is based on the EVDO broadband service offered by Sprint. This allows it to work anywhere, not just Wi-Fi hotspots.

In my view this is what gives the Kindle the potential to catch fire (pun intended). It may provide the kind of user experience that iPod users already enjoy. You won’t have to think about how to get your electronic files onto the device; it will happen automatically.

And, unlike all the iPods until the most recent one, the Kindle can function independently of a PC. According to Newsweek, you can use it to browse for books, check out personal recommendations, read reader reviews and even post new ones, thanks to the built-in keyboard.

Some 88,000 books will be available for download when the product is announced this week. And—get this—they will be available for $9.99 each. This has the potential to revolutionize the book publishing business model. And it may just give readers the incentive they need to go digital.

In addition to books, you can subscribe to newspapers (e.g., the New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and Le Monde) and magazines (e.g., The Atlantic). You can also search for items on the Web and view Web pages.

While many in my generation may be reticent to give up traditional books, this is not true of the younger generation. They grew up with the Internet and already do most of their reading electronically. The Kindle is simply the logical next step.

Finally, the Kindle will also appeal to environmentally-conscious consumers. Consider the “energy-wasting, resource-draining process of how we make books now. We chop down trees, transport them to plants, mash them into pulp, move the pulp to another factory to press into sheets, ship the sheets to a plant to put dirty marks on them, then cut the sheets and bind them and ship the thing around the world.” The eBook revolution—if it catches on—could change all of that, perhaps faster than we think.

Personally, I think the handwriting is on the wall. Welcome to The Book 2.0.

Update: Amazon now has the Kindle available for sale. You can find it here.

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  • http://www.zivkitaro.name/ Ziv Kitaro

    I have been waiting for this product for years. the Sonny reader is (was) a horrible first product and I didn’t bother to get mu hands on one – but here is something I FEEL I can trust.

    Can’t wait for it to come out already.
    Any news if it will read pdf’s that are already on our computers?

  • http://www.zivkitaro.name Ziv Kitaro

    I have been waiting for this product for years. the Sonny reader is (was) a horrible first product and I didn’t bother to get mu hands on one – but here is something I FEEL I can trust.

    Can’t wait for it to come out already.
    Any news if it will read pdf’s that are already on our computers?

  • http://www.suspensenovelist.blogspot.com/ Peg Brantley

    Wow. I was ready to not like it. I wanted to not like it.

    But a search feature?

    Zowie. Sign me up.

  • http://www.suspensenovelist.blogspot.com Peg Brantley

    Wow. I was ready to not like it. I wanted to not like it.

    But a search feature?

    Zowie. Sign me up.

  • David

    For question regarding PDFs, see quote from the Newsweek article about Amazon’s Kindle(page 2):

    “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.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/70983/page/2

  • David

    For question regarding PDFs, see quote from the Newsweek article about Amazon’s Kindle(page 2):

    “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.”

    http://www.newsweek.com/id/70983/page/2

  • http://timothyfish.net/ Timothy Fish

    The content of books needs to become electronic, not just the delivery method. With the exception of dictionaries and similar books, we don’t usually do word searches in a book. Many books are linear. One book I wrote would have been improved if I could have provided the reader with the ability to experiment with color schemes and to work exercises in the book, resulting in a custom-made church website. If people found similar things provided in other books then they would want electronic books, but standalone readers do not provide these things yet and they are expensive features to offer since many of them would require a software developer. Unlike MP3 players which provided people with skip free access to music, Kindle does not provide a significant improvement to books. Some people may want to have access to books from anywhere, but it takes so long to read a book that people are not as concerned about being able to do that. I think the disadvantages of an electronic reader device (cost, ease of use, risk of theft, environmental issues of manufacturing, etc.) will make people pass it up. Only with improved electronic content will we see people moving to electronic devices over paper products.

  • http://timothyfish.net Timothy Fish

    The content of books needs to become electronic, not just the delivery method. With the exception of dictionaries and similar books, we don’t usually do word searches in a book. Many books are linear. One book I wrote would have been improved if I could have provided the reader with the ability to experiment with color schemes and to work exercises in the book, resulting in a custom-made church website. If people found similar things provided in other books then they would want electronic books, but standalone readers do not provide these things yet and they are expensive features to offer since many of them would require a software developer. Unlike MP3 players which provided people with skip free access to music, Kindle does not provide a significant improvement to books. Some people may want to have access to books from anywhere, but it takes so long to read a book that people are not as concerned about being able to do that. I think the disadvantages of an electronic reader device (cost, ease of use, risk of theft, environmental issues of manufacturing, etc.) will make people pass it up. Only with improved electronic content will we see people moving to electronic devices over paper products.

  • http://www.amystorms.blogspot.com/ Amy Storms

    Holy cow, and I still use legal pads. :)

  • http://www.amystorms.blogspot.com Amy Storms

    Holy cow, and I still use legal pads. :)

  • Kyle Olund

    Pretty cool. I can’t wait to try one out. And I’m very happy to see a number of our books available in this format, including BLUE LIKE JAZZ by Donald Miller, INSIDE MY HEART by Robin McGraw, 3:16 by Max Lucado, and some Ted Dekker and Colleen Coble novels. I look forward to seeing more from Thomas Nelson.

  • Kyle Olund

    Pretty cool. I can’t wait to try one out. And I’m very happy to see a number of our books available in this format, including BLUE LIKE JAZZ by Donald Miller, INSIDE MY HEART by Robin McGraw, 3:16 by Max Lucado, and some Ted Dekker and Colleen Coble novels. I look forward to seeing more from Thomas Nelson.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com/ colleen Coble

    I’ll never buy one. There’s nothing like the smell, the feel and the sound of a book. I would be afraid to take an electronic thing into the bath or onto the beach. A book can be tossed onto the floor of the car, packed in a suitcase without fear of being stolen or damaged. I’m sure some of the younger folks will gravitate to it. but it’s not for me and I LOVE electronic stuff. I’m a total techno-geek, but not when it comes to my books. :-)

  • http://www.colleencoble.com colleen Coble

    I’ll never buy one. There’s nothing like the smell, the feel and the sound of a book. I would be afraid to take an electronic thing into the bath or onto the beach. A book can be tossed onto the floor of the car, packed in a suitcase without fear of being stolen or damaged. I’m sure some of the younger folks will gravitate to it. but it’s not for me and I LOVE electronic stuff. I’m a total techno-geek, but not when it comes to my books. :-)

  • http://idomba.net/ Ian

    It certainly has the ‘cool’ factor and is being released at a great time with the holidays fast approaching.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that the ‘medium’ is the issue in reading these days. I fear that people are loosing the ‘desire’ to stop a read; whether it be fiction, inspirational, or other. The attention span of the average person seems to be getting shorter and shorter which is why digital technology (portable video and music players, et. al.) are so wildly popular. I would like to think this device would play into this new fast-paced culture but I have a sinking feeling it will not.

  • http://idomba.net Ian

    It certainly has the ‘cool’ factor and is being released at a great time with the holidays fast approaching.

    Unfortunately, I don’t think that the ‘medium’ is the issue in reading these days. I fear that people are loosing the ‘desire’ to stop a read; whether it be fiction, inspirational, or other. The attention span of the average person seems to be getting shorter and shorter which is why digital technology (portable video and music players, et. al.) are so wildly popular. I would like to think this device would play into this new fast-paced culture but I have a sinking feeling it will not.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Colleen,

    If I may be so audacious, I predict that you do buy one. Perhaps not this one, but I’ll bet that you end up buying one and loving it within the next two years. :-)

    Mike

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Colleen,

    If I may be so audacious, I predict that you do buy one. Perhaps not this one, but I’ll bet that you end up buying one and loving it within the next two years. :-)

    Mike

  • http://www.goddessworshipblog.typepad.com Susy Flory

    I agree with Colleen. Reading is a tactile experience. There’s something about the feel of a book that can’t be replaced, at least for our generation, by Kindle. However, $9.99 for a NYT bestseller? Wow…my book buying addiction has been limited by my checkbook, but I would probably buy a lot more books with that kind of price. Same for the NY Times. So, traditional tactile reading vs. low cost bestsellers? Hmmmm….I’m certainly going to try it out (when I can find $400 to spare).

  • http://www.goddessworshipblog.typepad.com/ Susy Flory

    I agree with Colleen. Reading is a tactile experience. There’s something about the feel of a book that can’t be replaced, at least for our generation, by Kindle. However, $9.99 for a NYT bestseller? Wow…my book buying addiction has been limited by my checkbook, but I would probably buy a lot more books with that kind of price. Same for the NY Times. So, traditional tactile reading vs. low cost bestsellers? Hmmmm….I’m certainly going to try it out (when I can find $400 to spare).

  • http://www.plaidfile.com/ Tim Bednar

    When you say that this gives authors an inceptive to go digital? Do you mean self-publish? If so, does that possibly make Amazon your competition if they can also become a “publisher”. It might also give rise to a new kind of freelancer, the editor for authors who self-publish. It might also lead to shorter books being published more frequently?

    Great post…

  • http://www.plaidfile.com/ Tim Bednar

    When you say that this gives authors an inceptive to go digital? Do you mean self-publish? If so, does that possibly make Amazon your competition if they can also become a “publisher”. It might also give rise to a new kind of freelancer, the editor for authors who self-publish. It might also lead to shorter books being published more frequently?

    Great post…

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Actually, I said it gives readers an incentive to go digital. I don’t think it will give Amazon an incentive to become a publisher—at least not on a broad scale. If they tried, publishers would cut them off, and their business would dry up overnight. As far as authors go, Amazon can’t currently do all that traditional publishers can do, especially when it comes to building their brand. Smart publishers see the content and the delivery system as two different things. Smart authors will want to have their content delivered in as many ways as they can. The Kindle is just one more delivery option.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Actually, I said it gives readers an incentive to go digital. I don’t think it will give Amazon an incentive to become a publisher—at least not on a broad scale. If they tried, publishers would cut them off, and their business would dry up overnight. As far as authors go, Amazon can’t currently do all that traditional publishers can do, especially when it comes to building their brand. Smart publishers see the content and the delivery system as two different things. Smart authors will want to have their content delivered in as many ways as they can. The Kindle is just one more delivery option.

  • Brian Daugherty

    You have to cut the price significantly on this and other similar devices before you can even seriously consider a mass shift in publishing away from paper. I believe it will happen, one day, but with a device that is cheap and affordable to everyone, including the poor; small and easy to use like an iPhone/iPod Touch; can access the internet from anywhere either for free or dirt-cheap; and the suscription fees have to be fair and reasonable.

    At $400, it’s not something many people can buy impulsively, much less justify as a needed expense (especially when plenty of paper books and magazines, and your local newspaper, still flood the market).

  • Brian Daugherty

    You have to cut the price significantly on this and other similar devices before you can even seriously consider a mass shift in publishing away from paper. I believe it will happen, one day, but with a device that is cheap and affordable to everyone, including the poor; small and easy to use like an iPhone/iPod Touch; can access the internet from anywhere either for free or dirt-cheap; and the suscription fees have to be fair and reasonable.

    At $400, it’s not something many people can buy impulsively, much less justify as a needed expense (especially when plenty of paper books and magazines, and your local newspaper, still flood the market).

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Brian,

    This is what people said about the initial price of the iPod. Two things happened: First, it still sold like crazy. In fact, today Apple has sold almost 130 million of them. Second, the price did indeed come down.

    It’s only a matter of time.

    Mike

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Brian,

    This is what people said about the initial price of the iPod. Two things happened: First, it still sold like crazy. In fact, today Apple has sold almost 130 million of them. Second, the price did indeed come down.

    It’s only a matter of time.

    Mike

  • http://fromtheashesblog.com/ Brian Daugherty

    I meant subscription fees for newspapers, magazines and other publications – and, if something is free on the internet, you should not charge for reading it on your device.

    ZDNet has a short article today discussing these fees and how they could quickly add up for a Kindle user.

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=689

    I apologize for not making my point clear earlier – and thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

  • http://fromtheashesblog.com Brian Daugherty

    I meant subscription fees for newspapers, magazines and other publications – and, if something is free on the internet, you should not charge for reading it on your device.

    ZDNet has a short article today discussing these fees and how they could quickly add up for a Kindle user.

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/mobile-gadgeteer/?p=689

    I apologize for not making my point clear earlier – and thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

  • Clay

    Too expensive for mass market acceptance. Until the price for such a device is well under $200, even down around $100, my guess is it will be just another expensive digigadget in a growing sea of other expensive gadgets vying for attention, dollars, and consumers. It helps to have Amazon behind it, and it could be very useful for those needing an easy information delivery device, but I doubt that it’s going to generate any kind of revolution in publishing models for the average consumer, at least not yet. When the industry finally gets around to making a truly do-it-all handheld computer, and prices it to sell to the masses, THAT’S when the revolution will happen. Until then, it’s every gadget for itself.

  • Clay

    Too expensive for mass market acceptance. Until the price for such a device is well under $200, even down around $100, my guess is it will be just another expensive digigadget in a growing sea of other expensive gadgets vying for attention, dollars, and consumers. It helps to have Amazon behind it, and it could be very useful for those needing an easy information delivery device, but I doubt that it’s going to generate any kind of revolution in publishing models for the average consumer, at least not yet. When the industry finally gets around to making a truly do-it-all handheld computer, and prices it to sell to the masses, THAT’S when the revolution will happen. Until then, it’s every gadget for itself.

  • http://fromtheashesblog.com/ Brian Daugherty

    I suppose I expect WAY too much out of these devices off the bat. You are correct, the price WILL come down. I hope it drops at least below $40, myself. In any case, when it does, some kind of revolution will begin in earnest.

  • http://fromtheashesblog.com Brian Daugherty

    I suppose I expect WAY too much out of these devices off the bat. You are correct, the price WILL come down. I hope it drops at least below $40, myself. In any case, when it does, some kind of revolution will begin in earnest.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    I had not heard of the Kindle yet — amazing. Thanks for the great info.

  • http://cherylbarker.blogspot.com/ Cheryl Barker

    I had not heard of the Kindle yet — amazing. Thanks for the great info.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

    Regarding the price, keep in mind that the price includes broadband connectivity. There is no monthly subscription fee. You can do the math, but at $20 per month, that would be $240 per year.

  • http://www.michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

    Regarding the price, keep in mind that the price includes broadband connectivity. There is no monthly subscription fee. You can do the math, but at $20 per month, that would be $240 per year.

  • John

    I’m already feeling like a prisoner to a computer screen. The last thing I want is to take an enjoyable experience like reading and confuse my brain which is now adjusted to think computer screen = work.
    This is probably perfect for the impatient millenials who think anything they didn’t invent is useless and are too impatient to bother looking for a parking spot at Barnes & Nobel and doing stuff like waiting in line to check out. But then millenials only read magazine articles not books. So the verdict is: no way! Unless you are a total nerd who lost social skills 8 years ago when the computer became your mistress.

  • John

    I’m already feeling like a prisoner to a computer screen. The last thing I want is to take an enjoyable experience like reading and confuse my brain which is now adjusted to think computer screen = work.
    This is probably perfect for the impatient millenials who think anything they didn’t invent is useless and are too impatient to bother looking for a parking spot at Barnes & Nobel and doing stuff like waiting in line to check out. But then millenials only read magazine articles not books. So the verdict is: no way! Unless you are a total nerd who lost social skills 8 years ago when the computer became your mistress.

  • Craig

    There is another product called iRex iliad which is also internet connected but using WiFi. It allows you to sync through your PC or any WiFi network (or wired with an adaptor) which means not just eBooks but PDFs, HTML, RSS, anything you can print… without additional EVDO subscription fees

    Plus it’s more attractive, you can write on the screen, and the screen is bigger. (And a bit pricier… but more competition should help costs)

  • Craig

    There is another product called iRex iliad which is also internet connected but using WiFi. It allows you to sync through your PC or any WiFi network (or wired with an adaptor) which means not just eBooks but PDFs, HTML, RSS, anything you can print… without additional EVDO subscription fees

    Plus it’s more attractive, you can write on the screen, and the screen is bigger. (And a bit pricier… but more competition should help costs)

  • Craig

    Hmmm… missed that the EVDO was free for this device

  • Craig

    Hmmm… missed that the EVDO was free for this device

  • http://www.amystorms.blogspot.com/ Amy Storms

    With respect to the other comments, I guess I don’t see $400 as unreasonable, considering all this thing can do! I love books, but this does look like an ipod-ish revolution, even to slow-changing me. Thomas Nelson is wise to already have so many books available. How will this change affect TNP and the entire industry?

    It’s so similar to songs on itunes…I can’t remember the last time I bought an actual music CD at the store. (This also reminds me of the “middle ages tech support” video on youtube. Funny!)

    Interesting post.–Thanks. And my husband is a mac user, too, so he has appreciated your earlier posts as well.

  • http://www.amystorms.blogspot.com Amy Storms

    With respect to the other comments, I guess I don’t see $400 as unreasonable, considering all this thing can do! I love books, but this does look like an ipod-ish revolution, even to slow-changing me. Thomas Nelson is wise to already have so many books available. How will this change affect TNP and the entire industry?

    It’s so similar to songs on itunes…I can’t remember the last time I bought an actual music CD at the store. (This also reminds me of the “middle ages tech support” video on youtube. Funny!)

    Interesting post.–Thanks. And my husband is a mac user, too, so he has appreciated your earlier posts as well.

  • http://www.colleencoble.com/ colleen Coble

    I don’t see the price as unreasonable either. It’s the whole giving up my books! Mike knows me pretty well so maybe he’s right and I can be persuaded. After all, I went Mac. LOL

  • http://www.colleencoble.com colleen Coble

    I don’t see the price as unreasonable either. It’s the whole giving up my books! Mike knows me pretty well so maybe he’s right and I can be persuaded. After all, I went Mac. LOL

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