WSJ has a really good article on the upcoming Kindle and Amazon’s ereader strategy. To be fair, I have a Kindle, I love it, nearly as much as my children, sometimes more. People (publishers and a good chunk of authors) are not happy with the Amazon cut-throat pricing strategy (reminescent of Wal-Mart in its earlier years), but looking objectively, I think the world has gone very dog-eat-dog (or book-eat-book) and I don’t fault them for it (and I do LOVE $9.99 hardbacks that I would never read before).
This is my favorite quote from the article:
“For the vast majority of books, adding video and animation is not going
to be helpful. It is distracting rather than enhancing. You are not
going to improve Hemingway by adding video snippets,” he said.
At the RWA, there was a lot of mainstreaming of digital books, digital rights, e-readers. The first time that I’ve ever noticed the the Publishing Powers That Be have openly embraced the idea with not only excitement, but legitimacy as well.
A $139 Kindle sold at Target is a game-changer. I will most likely buy one for both of my kids. My daughter is a selective Luddite (with two computers, an ipod, and an iHome). She eschews the idea of reading a ‘book’ (picture hoity voice) on a device. Of course, she can heft a 50 pound Harry Potter volume with ease. I, now in my dwindling arm muscle years, have aches to accompany JK Rowling. My son (who is no Luddite and LOVES tech), loves to read on the Kindle and loves the idea of instant book gratification. I have friends who are voracious readers, who will now probably take the dip. In my expert opinion, Amazon is going to sell a hella-lot.
There are a lot of what I deem ‘not-hardcore’ readers who poo-poo the Kindle. It doesn’t have color. It doesn’t play TV shows. What if I want to browse the web? If this is you, do not buy the Kindle, because you are not a hardcore reader. You do not read cereal boxes at breakfast. Your bathroom is not accessorized with a magazine rack. Your bedside table is not invisible beneath the pile of books. If these symptoms apply to you, then you, too may have readeritis, a serious, but non-debilitating disease that causes a slight twitch when you are jonesing for a book. The tingle of excitement when you hear about a story that appeals.
I think the Kindle is here to stay in some form or fashion. I think Amazon is going to rule the ebook market, and I do believe we are in for some wild roller-coaster e-swings.
You heard it here — not exactly first — but probably two-hundred-and-twenty-two-second.
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