Amazon to Re-“Kindle” Book Sales?

Run, don’t walk to read this article on Newsweek announcing Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader. Though more official details will be announced later today, Steven Levy’s cover story, “Reinventing the Book,” is more than worth a read.

I’ve long been fascinated by the idea of electronic book readers, which some might find odd considering my near-fetishistic love of books-as-objects. What strikes me in the gut as an absolute truth, however, is this line by Jeff Bezos:
The key feature of a book is that it disappears.
He goes on to say this, in explanation:
I've actually asked myself, 'Why do I love these physical objects?' says Bezos. 'Why do I love the smell of glue and ink?' The answer is that I associate that smell with all those worlds I have been transported to. What we love is the words and ideas.
If I were to be asked why I thought that the Amazon Kindle would succeed where many others (like the Sony Reader) have failed, my answer would be, “Because Jeff gets it.”

By all accounts, Amazon has thought long and hard about what it means to be a book (they should know!), and what it means to improve upon this centuries-old form factor.

Here are some other reasons:
  • The Kindle is constantly connected to the Web via Sprint’s EVDO network, and this connectivity is free, allowing ubiquitous one-click downloads across the U.S. Talk about an easy impulse buy before a plane flight.
  • Book prices are standardized, taking a cue from iTunes.
  • You can subscribe to newspapers and blogs (and search Google/Wikipedia) on the device.
  • Millions of people already trust Amazon when it comes to books.
  • Amazon, better than pretty much anyone, understands how to make low-margin, high-volume profitable.
All of these are good reasons. But for me, the important thing is a gut feeling that they will get this right. It’s been nearly time for ebooks to take off for years now. Today, with Amazon’s announcement, the floodgates have been opened and the future is nigh.

This will be going on my Amazon Wishlist for sure.