I have met Jeff Bezos a number of times. He is cordial, bright and fun. He has a lovely wife, great kids and a pretty interesting company.
I had the privilege of playing with the Kindle about 6 months before it shipped.
In an interesting article in the N. Y. Times printed yesterday. The article presents a number perspectives on electronic books, but I think there is a perspective an publishing/writing model that is being ignored.
And here’s how I see it playing out. Let’s assume that a publisher and authors will have two options going forward, e.g. print and digital. And let’s assume that a best seller in print might be say $24.95 and digitally on the Kindle say $9.95.
I would suggest there is a 3rd option, e.g. that the author would have the ability to have a digital version for say $24.95 which would include annotations, later editions, reader’s comments, user generated content, etc. so that the digital book itself could become a social network. Maybe the more expensive version of digital book would include an interview with the author, or who knows what other add-ons, almost like the director’s cuts of DVD’s that we see re-issued, but my guess is that it might be a far richer version of the paper book or the simple digital book that contains the same text as the book.
And I have one more thought. It appears that we are about to be presented with a new generation of devices called “MIDs” or mobile Internet devices. A pretty interesting example is here, e.g. The Wind.
So, what if, they simply took the screen, designed it so that it spun around like the Lenovo X61 tablet, and let you read a book on the screen like a book. The net result would be that you really would have a dynamite device, e.g. a light weight computer that was also a book reader.
Sure there there would be issues of weight and battery life, but it would be exactly what I wanted, including daily updates of all the papers, magazines and books that I want to read, and ready to go whenever I was ready to go.
The Wind MID referenced above, weighs 2.6 pounds, the Kindle about 11 oz. Not sure if that is a deal breaker, but I should would like to try the Wind with Kindle functionality.