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Supposed Shot of the Amazon Kindle 2  (Source: Gizmodo)
Amazon is said to be announcing a new Kindle 2 reader today with an exclusive novel from Stephen King

Amazon.com has been around for years now and offers a wide array of gadgets, electronics, books, and other wares at prices often better than you can find in local stores. The giant e-tailer has become such a popular shopping destination that it is one of the reasons many states are seeking to tax online and digital sales.

One of the most popular products on Amazon.com is one that it makes itself -- the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is an eBook reader that offers a large screen with high contrast and is about the size of a typical book. Amazon launched the device and was quickly overwhelmed with the product demand leading to significant shortages of the device.

In fact, Amazon was unable to meet the demand and the product was unavailable over the important Christmas holiday shopping season last year. The current Kindle isn’t expected to be available until this month, if it is available at all.

Amazon is set to release a new version of its Kindle reader called the Kindle 2. The new reader hasn't been officially announced yet, but according to The Wall Street Journal, today is the launch day for the device.

Only little tidbits of information are known about the Kindle 2, one of which is that it will have a larger screen from the same maker as the original screen. Amazon is also expected to announce something that will put fear into the hearts of traditional publishers. Amazon will have Stephen King's newest novel as an exclusive for its device for an unknown period. The King story reportedly has a Kindle-like device at the heart of the tale.

As for the long and much talked about delays in getting stock of the original Kindle, official reasons haven't been offered by Amazon. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos would only say, "We had anticipated strong demand and what we saw was stronger than that. So, we're extremely grateful for that, and we will keep marching forward here."

The Wall Street Journal reports that the screen of the original Kindle and the Kindle 2 are made by Chinese firm Prime View. When Prime View was asked about the delays a spokeswoman told the WSJ, "It wasn't about delivery delay. The sales were just faster than expected."

An analyst from iSuppli, Vinita Jakhanwal said, "Amazon might be managing the Kindle availability as it wants to keep the buzz on its product and improve features and performance with the launch of the second generation product. There doesn't seem to be any specific reason why Amazon was unable to meet the demand with its first generation product."

Amazon has been mum on exactly how many of the Kindle devices it sold so far. Estimates put the number at 500,000 to date based on data from Sprint Nextel, who provides the mobile broadband connection that the Kindle uses to download books wirelessly. Jakhanwal predicts that the Kindle will bring Amazon $1.2 billion in sales by 2010. The hoards of people still waiting for the original Kindle will presumably be receiving the new model, assuming Amazon can make enough Kindle 2 readers.

Update:

The Kindle 2 is now official and listed on the Amazon.com site for pre-order. According to the official page, the Kindle 2 is set to ship on February 24 for $359. The device is a bit more than 1/3 of an inch thick, weighs 10.2 ounces, and has integrated 3G wireless connectivity with no monthly fees.

Amazon says that the battery life is 25% longer and pages turn 20% faster than on the original. The new device offers text-to-speech and can read stories to you. The display is a 6-inch diagonal E-Ink unit with a resolution of 600 x 800 pixels at 167 ppi in 16-level gray scale.



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RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By fic2 on 2/9/2009 12:47:42 PM , Rating: 3
$350 == ~43 paperbacks or up to 350 if you buy them used at Goodwill. I might buy one at $50, but I would have to know the DRM crap involved. After I finish reading can I sell the ebook or even give it to a friend? At work we have a user donated library that everyone is constantly donating books to and reading books from. Could we do the same with Kindles?


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Bateluer on 2/9/2009 1:34:51 PM , Rating: 2
While I never resell a book I've bought, leading to my rather large personal library, I do occasionally loan books out to friends provided they can be responsible enough to return the book in identical condition. I don't see this easily happening on an e-book reader without some massive anti-consumer DRM implementation.

I have been scanning the Kindle store and I see a lot of Kindle versions are cheaper than the print version, which will act in its favor. A paperback at a B&M bookstore can be 7.99 or more. A hardcover can range from 15 to 40, excluding a textbook or similar. 'Paperbacks' at the Kindle store seem to be around 5.50 and newly released hardcovers are around 9.99. I just looked at Bone Crossed, a recently released fiction novel I'm going to pick up in a week. Its 14 for the print version, plus shipping, but only 9.99 for the Kindle version.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By masher2 (blog) on 2/9/2009 3:26:13 PM , Rating: 4
quote:
While I never resell a book I've bought, leading to my rather large personal library, I do occasionally loan books out to friends provided they can be responsible enough to return the book in identical condition
I've found that requiring them to leave a major organ in a jar on my shelf as collateral is usually effective.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By afkrotch on 2/9/2009 2:39:52 PM , Rating: 2
I use a Sony e-reader. I just download books off mininova. At least, the ones I own. I don't read many books, so I have few books to put on it.

My main reason for buying it was to read all my scantalated manga.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By PrinceGaz on 2/9/2009 10:15:03 PM , Rating: 2
I hope those books from mininova are no longer covered by copyright as otherwise what you are doing is likely to be illegal.

Personally I've found it is much easier to stick with printed books, especially as they are very durable and there is no need to charge them up, and if you leave one in the pub after a few beers, it is no great loss. They're also smaller and lighter as you only need to carry enough of the pages you printed-off to last you through that day, and once you've read them, you can dispose of them. Obviously there is still the slight copyright thing, but it could be argued I'm doing the publisher a favour by saving them money on printing costs. Possibly.

I'll probably go down the e-book reader route sooner or later, but when it is easier just to carry around what you need of the book you are reading on good old ink and paper, I don't feel much need to switch.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Keeir on 2/9/2009 3:23:38 PM , Rating: 3
Something I think that gets lost in the Kindle is the Free EVDO access (lifetime I believe).

I have a relative that had to move to the east end of forever for a job. They get OK EVDO access, but there is no broadband internet and the closest bookstore is more than 1 hour away.

The Kindle allows them to purchase and read books without buying them online and shipping them. In the long run, the lower price of the Kindle books + the convience factor should make up a large percentage difference for many users


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By kkwst2 on 2/9/2009 3:57:53 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm, as best I can tell, you can actually use this device for text-based web browsing. So that with free EVDO certainly increases the usefulness of the device.

The two main shortcomings of the device to me are the lack of memory expansion (no SDHC slot, why??), and not supporting audio formats other than mp3. It would be nice to have WMA, flac, etc. support so I wouldn't have to re-encode stuff.


RE: Vertical screen netbooks.
By Keeir on 2/9/2009 9:25:36 PM , Rating: 2
Yeah, its far from perfect, but I do think that people look at the 350 dollar price tag and forget that there is probably a good 100 dollar+ markup for the lifetime EVDO access. Even if you only value the ability to download from anywhere there is EVDO access at 4-5 dollars a month (since most cell companies are charging 30 dollars a month for unlimited data, 5 dollars seems semi reasonable for such limited access), over 20-24 months you hit the 100 dollar range....


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