The Kindle is Dead

The Amazon Kindle is dead.

Oh, Amazon doesn't seem to know it yet. After all, they just rolled out the Kindle 2 and apparently have a textbook Kindle in the works to compete in the college market, but nevertheless, the device is dead. As much as Amazon has been at the forefront of web retail, the Kindle may go down as one of the biggest technological blunders of all-time. Rest assured, the Amazon Kindle is dead.

The philosophical flaw in the development of the Kindle is this: it's a device for old people. It's a device that's supposed to bring people who like to read books into the digital age. Huge mistake. The entire basis for developing the Kindle almost completely ignores how the net generation uses technology and what's out there competition-wise. It's a mistake a lot of people are making.

The Kindle is designed for people who like books, so it's designed to have properties similar to a book with the convenience of a new-fangled electronic device. Reading the screen is a reasonable process process with the e-ink and navigating through different publications is easy. Downloading books is simple also through Amazon's 3G network. You can download the latest bestseller or subscribe to the New York Times.

I own a Kindle 2. It's a really cool device. I also own an Iphone. It's a better device. The difference between reading on my Iphone and reading on my Kindle isn't significant enough that I'm going to haul around both pieces of hardware. I can put my Iphone in my pocket. I can't do that with a Kindle. I can access the Internet with my Iphone – look up stocks, check out ESPN, bid on Ebay. All I can do with the Kindle is download subscriptions to books and periodicals – and pay out the nose for them, I might add. Frankly, I'm not paying $10 for a book I don't get to keep. That is what's called a butt-fucking stupid model.

While the older generation may prefer the Kindle for reading books, who gives a shit? You can't design a device for a generation who would just assume carry a book around with them. Sure, I can put 10,000 books on my Kindle or whatever, but so what? I don't own them. Ownership is important to these people. I can't go into my library and smell them or see them. Remember, this is a generation that likes books. They may like the Kindle too, but for $359, they're likely to stick with what they know.

To the net generation, the Kindle is antiquated, and this is precisely the market who's supposed to get excited about these devices. They're not excited about the Kindle. Jeff Bezos, CEO and founder of Amazon has designed a device for himself and for Stephen King. Unfortunately, where such devices are concerned, they're old and irrelevant. Does it play music? Store pictures? Link to Facebook? Then who gives a shit? Reading on the old paradigm is dead to this generation and the Kindle is just another reminder of days gone by. Shit, maybe Bezos's next big thing will be an abacus.

A year from now, nobody is going to be talking about the Kindle. In fact, you might be able to purchase one off Ebay for $1 because there won't be anything you can do with it. One of the bummers of a technologically advanced society like ours is sometimes you create a device that's outdated before it's released. The Kindle is one such device.


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Amazon's Kindling didn't catch fire

FearlessFreep's picture

Someone had to make that shameless pun.

 

I want an iPhone

Decaf's picture

jealousy aside, to be honest I didn't think this was a very good article. maybe it was because it didn't hate on everything, and picked a side rather than picking none. it didn't actually seem that harsh 

 ______________________________________

 Formerly Known as MasterKlives

                 

Kindle 2 is pricey

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The head Amazon guy was interviewed on the Charley Rose show and refused to say how many units had been sold.  Apparently that is Amazon policy for any new product they roll out.

The device doesn't seem to be catching on with the general public for the reasons Cranky gives.  On the other hand there is some evidence it may sell with status conscious rich people who simply must have the latest gizmo.  Apparently they are very popular on airplanes.  You can store a book on one which means the stewardess can't tell you to turn it off while in flight like she might with your Iphone. 

Also the screen is easier on the eyes than a regular computer screen.  You can't get color yet.

So for people who want every possible convenience and cost is no consideration, and maybe for some frequent fliers, the Kindle 2 might actually find it's niche.  But I suspect it will be a small one.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Huh?

RS's picture
Dan_in_Cincinnati wrote:

You can store a book on one which means the stewardess can't tell you to turn it off while in flight like she might with your Iphone.

The kindle has to be turned off during takeoff and landing just like any other mid-sized electronic device. I have no idea why anyone would think being able to store books on it would affect any policy towards them.

The Kindle downloads books using the Sprint cell phone network

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

If you aren't downloading why would that interfere with the operation of the plane?  The Kindle uses a tiny amount of electricity when you are just using it to read a stored book.  Making someone turn it off seem silly.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Maybe so...

RS's picture
Dan_in_Cincinnati wrote:

If you aren't downloading why would that interfere with the operation of the plane?  The Kindle uses a tiny amount of electricity when you are just using it to read a stored book.  Making someone turn it off seem silly.

The same could be said for portable audio and game devices, but airlines have been making us turn those off during takeoff and landing for decades.
I guess the emphasis of the sentence I quoted was intended to be on stores and not on books but in that case what you're saying is quite obvious. The kindle's download feature would be useless on an airplane, but couldn't the same be said of an iPhone? It has plenty of features that can be used while not connected to a network, so airlines' decision to allow the use of Kindles while in flight and not iPhones is rather arbitrary.

Their excuses now are don't

jazzdrive3's picture

Their excuses now are don't have to due with wireless signal, but electrical current that could create interference. Some of the screens, like on the iphone, require constant electrical current.

But with the Kindle, it uses NO current when displaying data...only when refreshing a page, and very little at that. So for the Kindle, as long as you keep it on one page during takeoff, it's 100% OK and any request for you to put it up is arbitrary.

That's pretty cool how little power it uses. It's still a joke, though, in this early incarnation. $10 a book? Make them $2.99 or less and then we'll talk.

you have to pay 10 books for

Critico's picture

you have to pay 10 books for each ebook?, i thought you had to pay a monthly fee and you could download anything you want, or pay a little more after you reach your monthly limit, but 10 bucks each? , no wonder it won't catch up.

Any new technology costs more at first

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

The Kindle 2 really is new technology.  The screen is the biggest improvement.  You can read it in bed for a long time without eye strain.  The battery life is longer than an I-phone because the screen needs very little battery power.  Plus it is stand-alone.  You don't have to sync it with a computer to load the books on it. 

I don't think it will catch on with old people though.  One of the guys I work for can't even figure out how to do e-mail.  No matter how simple Amazon makes the Kindle people like him will never use it.

{;-) Dan in Miami

 

The book, however is still a

jazzdrive3's picture

The book, however is still a great technology. Even a competitive technology.

 

How about a Kindle for romance novels....

Rajah's picture

that doubles as a vibrator?

Also, it's a stupid name!

Nuke_Mecca's picture

Stupid stupid STUPIT!

One thing might save the Kindle

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

When I was selling books on the web the most profitable ones were textbooks.  There is a very strong market out there for textbooks if they are current.

So what Amazon should do is sell a whole bunch of the Kindle 2 units at a student discount to college students.  Every one of those kids would be thrilled to pay only $10 for a textbook that normally sells new for $50-$100.  The only problem I can see would be with illustrations and the fact that color will not be available for the Kindle any time soon.

Does the Kindle 2 do black and white illustrations now? 

{;-) Dan in Miami

I'm having trouble figuring

RS's picture

I'm having trouble figuring out why you think textbooks would suddenly be available for $10 on the kindle platform.

College textbooks are a ripoff

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Maybe publishers can justify the high prices because of the limited number of copies published.  With the Kindle you don't have to pay for the cost of printing, paper, distribution etc.  It should be possible to charge only $10 for a textbook on the Kindle.

Maybe the Professors who write these books would still try to overcharge, but they would have less justification.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Printed books are history

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Or - more accurately - they will be about history.  The economy and the world move so fast now that you can't wait for some old fashioned publisher to print a book anymore.  By the time the thing is edited, set in type, printed and distributed events have moved on.  Fine editions of art books and history books and fiction will still be published for people who take pleasure in having such things in their homes and offices.

For the most part electronic versions of books will take over.  The same thing happened when photography surpassed painting and drawing as a way to record people, places and events.

{;-) Dan in Miami

Electronic versions of

jazzdrive3's picture

Electronic versions of certain types of books might take over, like text-books, tech books, and current event books, where information changes fast, like you said. But even in that niche, there will always be a demand for paper. Half of reading is still the tactile experience. I will never read a book on my computer or iphone, unless it's only 6 or 7 pages long.

They should switch from paper to using skin

Rajah's picture

To save our trees we should use hobo skin to print books and newspapers

I know there's recycling but that's just a hippy pipe dream

What's more tactile than subhuman skin, eh?

"I will never read a book on my computer or iphone"

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Of course not.  Your eyes would bleed if you did.

Some people just love to try the newest gizmo just because it's a novelty.  Kindle type devices will win out because they offer something better than Gutenberg's technology.

The first cameras had exposure times measured in hours!  They were a curiosity.  Today you don't need to go to photography school to make darn good images with a digital camera.  The camera's brain does most of the work figuring out exposures and how to adjust for different lighting conditions.

Eventually the Kindle type devices will become so darn handy that you can't do without them if you want to stay informed.  That doesn't mean that you would consider getting rid of your beautifully illustrated and bound volume of Salvadore Dali paintings.

{;-) Dan in Miami

 

The kindle 2 screen is made

Anonymous's picture

The kindle 2 screen is made of rice paper. Mine broke 2 weeks after i got when it fell less than two feet from the couch to the rug. Amazon won't replace it either. Fuck them and this piece of shit!

The Kindle making a profit?

Dan_in_Cincinnati's picture

Some people speculated that Amazon was selling the Kindle at a loss.  Not so says Slate.com:

 

 

 

Publishers also now know through some sleuthing in the press that Amazon is making a decent gross margin on the Kindle device itself, a fact that was reinforced by Amazon's decision to cut the price of the Kindle 2 by 16 percent last week.

>

 

 

http://www.thebigmoney.com/features/kindle-chronicles/2009/07/20/kindle-under-fire?page=0,3

 

 

{;-) Dan in Miami

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