Is Kindle 2.0 on the Way?

Amazon is almost as good at creating buzz as Apple. So what will happen on February 9 when Jeff Bezos hosts a news conference in New York? If it isn’t Kindle 2.0, lots of media watchers, e-book fans and gadget hounds will be disappointed.

As Brad Stone reports in the New York Times,

The device has been out of stock since November, after Oprah Winfrey touted it on her show. The announcement seems to confirm our suspicions that the original Kindle has been obsolete since that time and that everyone who purchased the device over the holidays from — or put their name on a waiting list — will receive the newer version.

Wait, watch and read. Shall we feel the buzz or feel bummed?

Text Patterns

Alan Jacobs, purveyor of things literary, probably best known for his book The Narnian, has started a new blog called “Text Patterns.” He describes it as “commentary on technologies of reading, writing, research, and, well, knowledge. As these technologies change and develop, what do we lose, what do we gain, what is (fundamentally or trivially) altered? And, not least, what’s fun?”

My colleague Jeff Reimer thought his two blogs on Kindle (here and here) were especially worth a look. They offer some fresh perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of the device.

Electronic Reality Check

Every couple of months our neighborhood book club gets together. This last week we discussed Devil in the White City. We were interested in the book because of its Chicago connection.

Electronic books came up in the course of the discussion and I mentioned the Kindle. I was met with a roomful of blank stares.

Now, these folks do not have their heads in paper bags. They are informed. They listen to NPR. Some are educators. Heck, they are in a book club, for goodness’ sake. But something that is all the buzz in the publishing industry was something they had never heard of.

It reminded me that I live in a big country and a small industry. Even when a book sells millions of copies, most people have probably never even heard of it. So if Amazon has sold one- or two-hundred thousand Kindles, it’s really small potatoes.

Certainly for those of us in publishing it is our job to stay on top of trends and new developments, and plan effectively for the future. But a dose of perspective can help us do that too.

Kindle Aflame

Well, Amazon’s Kindle made it–just in time for Cyber Monday today. Amazon has a huge spread on the glories of Kindle, complete with video demonstration and words from Jeff Bezos and Toni Morrison. Already there are over 700 customer reviews with an average three-star rating out of five.

Today, Larry Magid wrote: “The first batch of Kindles sold out quickly and Amazon says it won’t have more in stock until Dec. 6. But my guess is that the Kindle will have modest success and won’t become a bestseller. But it does point the way to the future of reading. As paper and other natural resources get more expensive, this is the obvious way to go, especially for students and school districts who are now burdened with heavy, expensive and often outdated text books. But if I were Jeff Bezos, I’d worry about Steve Jobs. It wouldn’t take too many Apple programmers to turn an iPhone and an iPod into an iReader.”