Last week, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled the Kindle, a portable electronic device he told Newsweek he hopes will become Book 2.0. The handheld gadgets can hold 200 books (plus hundreds more saved on memory cards), and has access to Amazon’s endless “virtual library stacks,” at $9.99 for new releases. Plus, via Amazon, Kindle users can subscribe to newspapers, magazines, and blogs at monthly subscription rates.
According to Newsweek:
The Kindle represents a milestone in a time of transition, when a challenged publishing industry is competing with television, Guitar Hero and time burned on the BlackBerry; literary critics are bemoaning a possible demise of print culture, and Norman Mailer's recent death underlined the dearth of novelists who cast giant shadows. On the other hand, there are vibrant pockets of book lovers on the Internet who are waiting for a chance to refurbish the dusty halls of literacy.
Now, we prefer curling up with a tattered book or magazine to anything with an LED screen as much as the next bookworm. But as travelers whose shoulders get tense even thinking of the way we stuff our carry-ons with hefty novels and guidebooks, the notion of slipping a 10.3-ounce Kindle into our bag feels like instant Icy Hot to our weary muscles. “Working sort of like an Etch-A-Sketch,” says Newsweek, the contraption uses MIT-developed E Ink and is designed to be easy on the eyes.
Premiering at $399 per Kindle, we’re inclined to hope Bezos pulls a Steve Jobs and lowers the price soon. In the meantime, we can't wait to see whether the Kindle sparks a book revolution.