Amazon’s Wireless E-reader Creates a Stir
Neither Amazon nor Sony will say how many of their e-readers they have sold, making it impossible for bookstore owners to evaluate the threat, but what Bezos did say was that on the basis that 125,000 book titles are available for Kindle, if you look at that subset of titles and then look at Amazon’s physical book sales of those same titles the Kindle unit sales are more than 6% of those total sales.
But Bezos believes that physical books will not completely go away and that anything that has stubbornly resisted improvement for 500 years is going to be hard to improve. “Just as horses haven’t completely gone away,” he says. “You can’t ever outbook the book.”
Amazon may boast the largest proprietary e-library with over 125,000 Kindle books listed on its Web site, but one of the complaints from e-readers who have purchased any dedicated device is not finding the e-books they want. Other complaints include not being able to loan or resell the books and the problem if you lose the device as it’s not like losing just one paperback. Cost is also an issue because on top of the $10 for your e-books there is an outlay of $359 for the Reader. Unfortunately, although the Kindle has wireless technology, the user is only able to download and pay for text only material in grayscale versions from Amazon - some of which is available for free with WiFi - and in color.
But there is no doubt that many users are impressed by the device and it appears that the Kindle has kicked eBooks into the mainstream. It will only be a matter of time before the next generation Kindle becomes available and hopefully we will see world-wide availability - the Kindle is currently not available outside the US because of the exclusive partnership with Sprint. It only works to its full wireless potential within the U.S, thus alienating us would-be fans in other parts of the world. However, the press has recently reported that the decision has been made to launch it in Europe.