Tuesday, February 24, 2009
More Kindling for the fire
David Pogue, the New York Times technocolumnist who never met a piece of electronics he didn't like, has this to say today about Amazon.com's new Kindle II e-book reader:
"The point everyone is missing is that in Technoland, nothing ever replaces anything. E-book readers won’t replace books. The iPhone won’t replace e-book readers. Everything just splinters. They will all thrive, serving their respective audiences."
One might nitpick. What happened to the Betamax? Diskettes? Zip drives? And so on.
Yet Pogue is on to something. It seems very likely that the Kindle and its progeny will capture a goodly segment of the reading market, but by no means all of it and maybe not even most of it. The consumer simply has another choice.
To that it might be added that the Kindle, or something down the road very like it, may be the way many if not most of us read the papers and pay for it, allowing news organizations to open another revenue stream and survive. Amazon.com charges for transmitting news via wireless to Kindles, and shares that money with the news sources it provides.
Is it impossible that, say, the New York Times would stop giving the news away for free if it can also make money this way as well as printing and selling papers to those who prefer to consume their news in that form? I have no idea exactly how this can be done, but it seems awfully plausible to me.
The rest of Pogue's enthusiastic review of the Kindle II is here.
P.S. Still not gonna buy a Kindle II just yet. That $359 price has to come down to $199 before I'll bite.
FEB. 25: Roy Blount, the writer and president of the Authors Guild, weighs in today with a slam at Kindle II's audio capability -- where, he asks, are the audiobook royalties for the authors? He's got a point.