Amazon.com released an electronic reading device, the Amazon Kindle, in the spring of 2007. If you review the customer reviews of the Kindle you will see that it was overwhelmingly met with positive comments. If you read closely many of these stated that it was not perfect, but definitely a good "first step" and when the fabled second version is released that many of the bugs or annoyances will be worked out.
People have been talking about the Kindle 2.0 for a long time now, and there are countless people on the waiting list for the original since months before Christmas time in 2008. USA Today reports that there is an "important press conference" on February 9 with no details about the nature of the press conferences. Is it time to move into the next generation of electronic reading? Is the Kindle really going to be the iPod of the book world? It is hard to say since there is a legitimate attitude that you cannot replace the experience of holding a paper tome in your hand.
View alleged Kindle 2.0 images at the Boy Genius Report blog.
I keep telling my wife that we should buy some Amazon stock. Amazon (AMZN) is currently selling at $48.40. I'm going to imagine that I bought 100 shares today and see what happens in the next month or two. Will we see a huge increase in Amazon as we did when the iPod exploded on to the market?
There is one huge difference between the Kindle and the iPod, and that is functionality. An iPod can be used anytime, during any activity. People use them while walking to class, working out, or plugged into the car, whereas it is difficult to read and do other things at the same time. The iPod has become an integral part of many people's lives since it can be used anytime. The Kindle will not be as big because it cannot be integrated into everyday life except by people wanting to read, and only read.
This being said, it is important to look at the direction society is heading. We are becoming a more "green" population and paper conservation is going to become more important. Furthermore, it won't even matter since publishing companies will be able to sell books at half the cost and make twice as much profit since materials and overhead will be eliminated. There is also serious discussion going around about the Kindle 2.0 being designed with school textbooks in mind, where students will not have to buy (and carry around) $500 worth of paper and utilize highlighting functionality, text searching, and note taking capabilities. Instead of carrying 25 pounds of books, students will carry 2.6 pounds of electronic equipment.
The new Kindle 2.0 may not be the next iPod, but it may very well be the closest thing we will see in the next decade or two. Amazon is already a powerhouse in the book world, and if the Kindle 2.0 is rolled out correctly, Amazon will have a stranglehold on the literary world.
Go buy your AMZN stocks now.
Plants and Books