Kindle 2

March 4th, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

Kindle is Amazon’s ebook reader, and they’ve just launched a new version.

I’d love to be given one as a toy, but I’m going to be a late adopter on this one — I like to hug trees after they’ve been converted into books.

And as I’ve already got over 4,500 books, and I’m not a big novel reader, and I don’t do a huge amount of travelling, and $359 would buy me an awful lot of reading matter which would still be extant when the Kindle is forgotten landfill, and it only works in one country in the world (admittedly the third largest), and it’s only available in black and white, and every book would feel the same and smell the same and look the same and weigh the same and you could lose your entire library on the tube, if it’s all the same to you I’ll pass for the moment.

The ads say “Shop the Kindle store wirelessly, anytime, anywhere!” Not true. Like Kindle 1, Kindle 2 doesn’t work in Europe or in the rest of the world outside North America.

“Images are sharper than ever, in 16 shades of gray!”

Perhaps. Most books are printed in colour, and fotoLibra sells 98% colour to 2% grayscale imagery. It’s not vitally important for a novel, but in every other branch of publishing, colour is imperative.

At the moment there’s a careful stand off between publishers and picture libraries over the issue of digital rights. Prices for images (which are tumbling) are based on page sizes, print runs and territorial rights. Ebook readers don’t yet impinge on our consciousness, because nobody buys an ebook to look at the pictures.

But colour will eventually arrive. Who knows, Kindle 4 may run to 256 colours. T&H, Phaidon & Abrams won’t be holding their breath.

And we will start addressing the situation when publishers start making money from illustrated ebook sales.

Meanwhile we’re keeping an eye on it.

Kindle doesn’t yet light my fire.

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