As you probably know, the Kindle 2.0 pricing and such was released today by Amazon. Sean P Aune and I sat down to chat about some recent moves in the e-Book world and discuss the impact on the business.
While I’m still excited to see advancements made in this business, I have a hard time seeing today’s release as the watershed event that’s going to lead us all into a brave new world of electronic books.
So often, the Kindle is regarded as the iPod for books, and the implication is that very soon, every Tom, Dick and Harry will be carrying around their Kindle with them, digitally turning the page while they’re driving and all that whatnot. The unfortunate truth is that the Kindle, nor any other eBook, offers the ability for any of us to save any money nor make any gains on the traditional book format.
Matthew Ingram was pointing out to us, as many other have recently, that something like two thirds of the cost of printed material actually goes to the printing costs, not the intellectual labor that went into creating the content.
During our conversation, I mentioned another anecdote that I think is pretty telling… a couple of days ago I was searching for a cheap used Kindle 1.0. I did a Google product search for a Kindle priced between $100 and $200, and all I found were Kindle books priced in that same range.
Where are my savings? What’s my incentive for this? The equipment is expensive, the books are expensive – why do I want this?
I say this as someone who’s worked on creating budget hardware and eInk technology before. This is something that can be done a whole lot cheaper. Many things need to change before the Kindle will become the cultural revolution that most people seem to be expecting.