Sunday, October 26, 2008

Amazon working hard to Kindle ebook readership

The Kindle ebook reader from Amazon has been a consistent object of media coverage since its debut almost a year ago. Then on Friday, October 24th, the Amazon/Jeff Bezos PR machine feathered its cap with an appearance on Oprah. As the undisputed Grand Duchess of Merchandising, Oprah Winfrey will certainly bless the Kindle with added exposure and more sales.

The already fast-growing market for ebooks will enjoy this boost that will start to shift digital publishing from the niche to the mainstream. With hive-like buzz building about the Kindle, more people will consider purchasing one, but they will want more than some fluffy chatting up on daytime television upon which to base their buying decisions.

Is the Kindle worthy of its buzz?

I answer with a qualified yes. I recently had the chance to check out my mother's Kindle and review its capabilities. I'm a user of the ebook reader from Sony myself, but I'll save the comparisons for another post.

To begin, the Kindle is a versatile device that provides a comfortable reading experience. You can read text on the e-ink technology screen without eyestrain in both artificial and natural light. The power usage is at an acceptable level. Depending on your reading habits, you can easily go one or two weeks between charges.

The Kindle also serves as an excellent device for people who enjoy audio books. The mp3 files store on the device just like ebooks, and you listen with either the Kindle speaker or plug it into speakers or headphones.

Content for the Kindle can be accessed and purchased wirelessly. The wireless capability of the device allows you to connect to the Amazon ebook store or the audio book store at Audible.com from almost anywhere in the United States. This is a convenient way to shop for content because it does not require interfacing with a regular computer. This could perhaps be too convenient for impulse shoppers!

Although you can purchase and download ebooks or audio books wirelessly, you can still connect to your computer with a USB cable and load content that way. In addition to plain text files, the Kindle will operate MobiPocket format ebooks that are unencrypted, meaning that they do not have digital rights management (DRM). I include unencrypted MobiPocket ebooks for most of the titles that I sell for the convenience of Kindle users.

To learn more about the Amazon Kindle, please watch my product review of the device that I put on YouTube. I admittedly lack the polish of Oprah, but I make some valid comments and I am an unpaid reviewer.

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