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Nobody is likely to confuse a Kindle with a cellphone, but Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos said Monday he considered the cellphone business model: undercharge for the device and make it up on content and service fees.
But, Bezos told Wired’s Steven Levy at Wired’s Disruptive by Design conference in New York, it’s cheaper in the long run for customers to pay something akin to the actual cost for hardware. And fees and minimum purchase requirements create friction.
“We did consider [the cellphone model] for Kindle,” Bezos said in an interview with Wired’s Steven Levy at Wired’s Disruptive by Design Conference in New York. “Instead of driving the cognitive complexity of a two-year commitment, [we] just tell people, ‘This is the actual cost of the device,’” he said.
The New York Times reports that during a reading at the Strand bookstore in Manhattan by David Sedaris, whose most recent book is “When You Are Engulfed in Flames,” a man named Marty who had waited in the book-signing line presented him his Kindle for autographing. On the back of the Kindle, Mr. Sedaris, in mock(?) horror, wrote, “This bespells doom.” (The signed Kindle was photographed, but Marty's full name is unknown.)
In another sign that book publishers are looking to embrace alternatives to Amazon.com’s Kindle e-book store, Simon & Schuster has agreed to sell digital copies of its books on Scribd.com, a popular document-sharing Web site.
Simon & Schuster, a division of CBS, plans to announce Friday that it will make digital editions of about 5,000 titles available for purchase on the site, including books from best-selling authors like Stephen King, Dan Brown and Mary Higgins Clark. It will also add thousands of other titles to Scribd’s search engine, allowing readers to sample 10 percent of the content of the books on the site and providing links to buy the print editions.
UPDATE see below: The contest is over and we have a winner...librarian Lauren Gilbert of Hungtington NY has garnered the laurels as the author of "tree book"...congratulations Lauren and to all the entrants.
Amazon may launch the Kindle in the UK this year, Waterstone's has had success with the Sony Reader and Borders is about to launch a new device, but author Nick Hornby is not feeling the fever pitch over e-books.
In an interview with The Bookseller High Fidelity author Hornby has expressed skepticism as to whether the e-book reader will become as ubiquitous as the Apple iPod. He said: "People don't read enough. Their consumption is summer holidays and they like to take a couple of paperbacks away with them. That's a three-for-two offer. They read maybe seven or eight per year. You don't need one of those machines to do that."
Hornby suggested that no one had any great affection for CDs, whereas people are still attached to books as a form. He said: "It's hard to beat the convenience and price of a paperback book.
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On Morning Edition on NPR:
The book industry as we know it is changing, and publishers are hoping that Google, the latest contender eyeing the electronic book market, has the clout to give the Amazon Kindle a run for its money.
Though the Kindle makes it incredibly easy for consumers to buy a book in seconds — anywhere, anytime — from Amazon's online store, Michael Powell of Powell's Books in Portland, Ore., says the device leaves traditional booksellers "totally out in the cold."
"We can sit and press our nose against the window, but we cannot play a role in that," says Powell.
Powell notes that bookstore owners are not Luddites; his store has a sophisticated Web site, and he wants to be able to take advantage of new technology as it becomes available. If he's not able to do so with the Kindle, he hopes that Google might just give bookstores what they need.
Kindle DX is the true heir to the Kindle throne, but whether Amazon's ebook kingdom is growing or shrinking depends on the next wave of books—textbooks. In the meantime, bigger screen, cool new tricks...
Best ebook reader to date
Native PDF support
Larger screen means (almost) everything is easier to read
E-Ink screen is easy on the eyes and battery efficient, but makes pages slow to "turn" and does not come in color
Textbooks would be ideal, so let's see the deals
$489 price tag is steep
No zooming means some PDFs will be unreadable