Posts Tagged ‘Kindle 2’

Amazon’s Kindle is now allowing blogs to be posted. Here’s one user’s experience, which can be read in full at

When I looked at the preview of what my blog looked like in the Kindle after adding my first blog to the system, I was shocked at the terrible quality.

First of all, it was black and white. My blog has pictures and on the Kindle they were not just black and white, they were low resolution black and white. It changed my carefully chosen font to a Times New Roman. In short it looked horrible. Sure, you can get away with a black and white eBook Reader for books, but if you are going to add other content, you need it to be full color or it just looks ghastly (or you are asking bloggers to come up with a special Kindle design, which is an unreasonable expectation).

It was at that moment, staring at that horribly ugly preview of my blog that it hit me. This is clearly a job for Apple.

Rumours of Apple working on an e-book reader have intensified over the past few months. Would it be like a big slender iPhone? Will it actually come? Or is this just wishware?

To many people, me included, the look and feel of a thing is as almost as important as the content. If I see my work in Times New Roman (a wonderful typeface, drowned by ubiquity) I feel physically sick. Fonts are the clothes words wear, as I quoted in my Encyclopaedia of Fonts.

And from fotoLibra’s point of view, the sooner we have colour e-books the sooner we can sell images to e-book publishers.

It will happen. So we are preparing for it.

Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

It’s not on the market yet, but we can do it now. All we need is the content.

As ebooks stand at the moment, they offer less than conventional books do. You can’t get anything from an ebook you can’t get from a paperback at a fiftieth of the price (once you include the hardware). The big advantage is search/indexing, not particularly relevant to fiction, the major ebook market. As yet, there is no killer app.

But when ebooks get color, there’s no reason why the images that now grace illustrated books shouldn’t just be still pictures. There will be mini-movie and sound clips embedded in the text.

Imagine a travel book with the sounds and bustle of a Hong Kong market; a bird book which shows the distinctive jizz (behaviour pattern) of each bird as well as letting you hear its song; a D-I-Y book where you could actually see how to apply putty; a cookery book with techniques clearly demonstrated — the method of carving a shoulder of lamb, for example — or a history book with a WWI tank lumbering over the trenches.

That would make the purchase of the ebook as reading tool worthwhile.

fotoLibra’s holding company is called VisConPro Ltd. It stands for VISual CONtent PROvision. At the moment ebooks are almost solely sourced from unillustrated texts, because today’s ebooks can only handle 16 shades of grey. I had a computer like that in 1983. So the publishers are currently providing content simply as text — TEXtual CONtent PROvision.

We have the images. We can shortly have the movie clips, on the same basis that grew fotoLibra from a dream to 300,000 images online. We can collaborate with a publisher to produce a few sample titles and a snappy generic name. Alas, Prentice Hall already has Active Book.

It’s perfectly possible to create any of this content right now. All we need is for Kindle to add colour and Quick Time compatibility.

THEN as a consumer I will be thrusting my dollars into Mr. Bezos’s ever-open palm.

And as a Visual Content Provider I expect Amazon will be doing the same to me in return.


More Kindling

March 6th, 2009
Gwyn Headley

by Gwyn Headley

Managing Director

I’ve been accused of doing a Mary Whitehouse, condemning something without even seeing it.

But I don’t have to see Kindle 2 to know the most important thing about it from fotoLibra’s point of view.

It. Doesn’t. Do. Colour.

And I’m not condemning it. Far from it. I’d love to have one, and I will — once it has millions of colours and works in Wales. But it won’t be replacing my library and it won’t be my primary reading tool. Travel and holidays, great. Sitting at home, uh uh.

Passing into the realms of speculation here, I think Apple and the Chinese, and Japanese, and the Koreans will be watching Kindle sales very closely. At $359 I don’t expect Amazon is making big profits out of the hardware — it’s the ‘get a free car if you only buy our gas’ strategy.

Amazon are attempting to cementing their dominating position, controlling the means of delivery; just where Microsoft were 15 years ago. But it won’t last. It never does.

Ebooks now are at the same stage of customer acceptance as mobile phones were a decade ago. The difference is that ten years ago Europe was way ahead in mobile phone acceptance, with the US lagging far behind, while today America leads the world in ebook usage, with barely a ripple shaking the Euro market. Will a Euro-Kindle change that? Maybe. But the US will stay far ahead for the foreseeable future. One thing’s for sure — nobody in benighted Britain is going to be manufacturing ebooks any time soon.

Meanwhile fotoLibra has to figure out image licensing costs for the time when ebooks acquire colour and do become significant items in publishers’ balance sheets.


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.