Amazon announced a new Kindle today. I have a Kindle, I use it and like it and recommend it. The new one doesn’t have enough sizzle to tempt me to dump the one I have and buy new. But if you haven’t bought one, this new one is better and slightly cheaper than the one I have. It has more memory, more battery power, and an improved physical design. Amazon will start shipping it later this month.
I was hoping for a Kindle at half the price, about $200. For that price I think it would be a must-buy for anybody who reads books. At $369, it’s kind of expensive, a nice luxury. I want to buy one for a voracious-reader daughter, and at $200 the difference between the Kindle price and regular price would pay for itself quickly. At more than $350, it’s not so obvious.
I think the Kindle is important because it validates books. Reading and writing books. Both are important to mankind. Both have suffered changing times, the flood of video, smaller-attention-span media, television, and so on. But I hope books remain important to the foundation of education and knowledge and humanity.
So the Kindle validates books in the future. Without paper. Less resource intensive. For that matter, so does the Sony ebook reader, and the ebook reader software on Palm Pilots and Pocket PCs and laptops and netbooks.
Which reminds me, here’s a very nice analysis of the future of eBooks, and the future of the businesses around the ebooks: