I’m a big fan of my Kindle, so I’m not surprised that e-books are starting to take off. To use what will quickly become a tired analogy: Amazon has done for e-books what Apple did for e-music with iTunes. With Amazon and the Kindle, you have:
- A online store to buy content
- A wireless connection to that store (one-upping the iPod which still requires connecting to your computer)
- An attractive price point (most e-books are $9.95)
- And, of course, a quality device with high resolution, lots of storage, and good battery life
I’ll consider the adjustable font size (a big plus for my aging eyes) and the ability to buy single editions of international newspapers (e.g., Le Monde) gravy.
“The perception is that e-books have been around for 10 years and haven’t done anything,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division. “But it’s happening now. This is really starting to take off.”
On Kindle sales:
It is difficult to quantify the success of the Kindle, since Amazon will not disclose how many it has sold and analysts’ estimates vary widely. Peter Hildick-Smith, president of the Codex Group, a book market research company, said he believed Amazon had sold as many as 260,000 units through the beginning of October, before Ms. Winfrey’s endorsement. Others say the number could be as high as a million.
On the future:
“E-books will become the go-to-first format for an ever-expanding group of readers who are newly discovering how much they enjoy reading books on a screen,” said Markus Dohle, chief executive of Random House, the world’s largest publisher of consumer books.
While it’s easy to dispute the above point with the case of a specific book (e.g,. my daughter is going to read Twilight whether it’s on the Kindle or not) but in more generic cases Kindle-availability will drive the purchase.
Thus far, in three cases I have first decided that I wanted to read something on the Kindle and then only considered Kindle books for purchase (the categories were income taxes, search engine optimization, and an action novel).