Yesterday’s big news was all about the reveal of Amazon’s new Kindle, which boasts a longer battery life, more user-friendly (user-friendlier?) design, bigger internal storage and the possibility of future compatibility with mobile devices such as the iPhone. A lot of folks are psyched, and understandably so. According to GalleyCat, Kindle editions represent about 10% of Amazon’s sales of books where both Kindle and print are available. And I think that will keep growing.
However, I have to say I’m disappointed that Kindle 2.0 doesn’t have the capacity to read the epub format. Publishers have been working really hard to standardize the ebook model–both to save money doing all the conversion and to simplify the process for readers hesitant to jump into e-reading until the format wars are solved. But this new Kindle doesn’t promote any of that.
It’s frustrating to think about spending so much money for a device ($359 for the Kindle, $399 for the Sony 700) just knowing that in a year or two there will likely be an upgrade–a better, faster, stronger model that will render yours suddenly not as cool. In some cases–because publishing still hasn’t broken one way or another about format–it could render the device useless. I can certainly see why a lot of everyday readers are reluctant to jump into the market.