Thursday, September 06, 2007

amazon kindle

There was an article in the New York Times yesterday on ebooks that briefly mentioned two upcoming business models:

In October, the online retailer will unveil the Kindle, an electronic book reader that has been the subject of industry speculation for a year, according to several people who have tried the device and are familiar with Amazon’s plans. The Kindle will be priced at $400 to $500 and will wirelessly connect to an e-book store on Amazon’s site.

That is a significant advance over older e-book devices, which must be connected to a computer to download books or articles.

Also this fall, Google plans to start charging users for full online access to the digital copies of some books in its database, according to people with knowledge of its plans. Publishers will set the prices for their own books and share the revenue with Google. So far, Google has made only limited excerpts of copyrighted books available to its users.

The Google announcement is, I think, a fair one -- right now they limit viewing to copyrighted books to a snippet view. If a work is still clearly in copyright and the rights owner wants to release that book for full access, they should be able to charge for that access. It's their right. Of course I'd like to see more publishers make e-versions of their title available freely ...

The Amazon news gives me pause, not knowing all the details yet. You access the files wirelessly -- do you read them via a live connection from their servers, or is the file downloaded to the device? I understand why some think it's a plus to not require a full-fledged computer to get access to a book, but it potentially seems like a really limited version of access. The ebook files will be Mobipocket format and the Kindle device seems to use a proprietary wireless system to grab the files (known through their FCC filing), so the files likely won't be available to other devices. They are not using the Adobe format for their files; it's not clear if the Kindle will support reading of Abobe ebooks from other sources or if you can only read Amazon files. Can you get the files off the device or back it up? If you can get the files off the device, will they work with the desktop version of Mobipocket? There have also been complaints about Mobipocket DRM.

This is all speculation given the lack of details. TeleRead has some speculation of their own. I look forward to hearing more about the product and the service.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And what about this poor owners of astores on big amazon?