I’m salivating right now. Could be because someone’s eating a plate of French fries next to me. Or could be because Amazon (AMZN) just released the new Kindle 2. Either way, both are equally scrumptious.
A ton has been written about the Kindle already, so I’m not going to copy-and-paste everything. What I’ll say instead is that I’m particularly excited about:
- the portability of Kindle e-books so you can read them on other devices too, most notably mobile phones
- the WhisperSync system for syncing your account across multiple Kindles
- the evolution of the features and design, though I think they still need to work on this
- the increased number of e-books available, from 90,000 to 230,000 now
I am in talks with my publisher Harvard Business School Press to create a Kindle version of my book. The main challenge is over the rights issue. Depending on what rights you have negotiated, authors and publishers may need to renegotiate permissions to receive rights to publish certain photos and text for the digital world.
So here’s the deal. Thanks to Amazon and the Kindle, e-books have gone from the “can afford to ignore” category to the “I am looking into it” category, and now are entering “I have to have it” bucket.
I think this should be good for readers and the publishing industry as a whole because it represents another outlet and market. But the transition may be a little bumpy as business models could be disrupted, and publishers become concerned that they are getting dis-intermediated out of their core business by technology companies.
I think it’s a positive sign that some authors and publishers are buying into the idea of e-books. Not all authors are sold though. Stephen King cautions that, “yes, MP3s and iTunes destroyed the CD industry. Nobody’s going to buy the whole if you can just buy a slice. But that doesn’t apply to books.”
His thoughts echo what many others have said, making for an interesting debate.
Ultimately, it will have to be the readers who decide if e-book devices are worth having. So far, I think there’s a definite niche market here. I’m craving one and lots of people already love it. That doesn’t mean there’s a mass market for e-books though; it just means there’s a niche for them.