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Amazon's New Kindle Displays eBooks and Newspapers

Amazon's Kindle: The eBook's Second ChanceThe book is the last bastion of non-digital media. Music and videos have long since gone digital, magazine and newspaper subscriptions are suffering as more readers turn to blogs and news sites to get their info, and it's hard to even compare the size of the video game industry to the board game industry. Yet the book has held on through a number of attempts at replacement, with various digital eBook readers coming and ultimately going over the years, most hindered by minimal selection. Now Amazon thinks the time is right for another. Today, the book giant launches its Kindle eBook Reader.

The Kindle is a small device with a six-inch E-ink display. E-ink is a type of LCD that requires very little power to operate, enabling the Kindle to get 30 hours of battery life despite sporting battery-sapping support for Wi-Fi and Sprint's high-speed mobile broadband EV-DO network. This means you can purchase and download books from almost wherever, even sitting at an airport terminal waiting for your flight, and you can also subscribe to blogs and even newspapers like 'The New York Times' and have them delivered straight to the device. With Amazon selling new releases at $9.99, the prices aren't too bad, especially compared to the $20 - $30 you might pay for your typical hardcover.

The Kindle is most comparable to Sony's Reader, another small E Ink-based eBook reader that sports much the same functionality but without the wireless, so you have to sync to your computer to get books. (The Reader also doesn't offer periodicals or newspapers.) We think the Reader looks a bit nicer with its understated design and silver or blue color when compared to the Kindle's angular design, making it look like a prop from an early 1980's sci-fi movie. The Reader is $100 cheaper, too, selling at $299 vs. $399 for the kindle. But, compare book prices, and you'll see Sony's charging $15.99 for new releases, which could add up if you're a frequent reader.

Amazon's definitely pulling out the stops to launch the Kindle today, letting the thing dominate their front page, setting up a massive product page, and even getting respectable authors like Toni Morrison to shill for the thing in a series of videos.

Will the Kindle finally bring the book into the digital age, or are we as a civilization destined to still be cutting down trees for our light reading hundreds of years for now? We just know this thing won't start any revolutions until it drops under $200.


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Tags: Amazon, eBook, Kindle, Reader



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