On today's show, we have a lot to apologize for, but don't hold your breath because it ain't happening. (It's all just a desperate plea for more voicemail.) The short version is this: Kindle DX is ludicrously expensive, Blu-Ray is catching on but totally shouldn't be, and Craigslist is officially a pimp.Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 968
Kindle DX unveiled: 9.7-inch screen (2x area), $489, summer ‘09 delivery, integrated PDF, textbook emphasis, Times, Globe, and Post all “testing” it http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10234355-93.html http://bit.ly/iyLfo
What to … Read more
Rumors have been circulating for a while that Amazon has a larger form factor Kindle in the works--and we may get a first look at it as soon as this week, according to sources who spoke with The New York Times.
Initially, a lot of the chatter around a new jumbo Kindle was focused on the textbook market. But in recent months, as more newspapers and magazines have become threatened with extinction, these larger e-readers--which also include models from Plastic Logic and News Corp.--have increasingly been pitched as digital saviors for old-media companies looking for what the Times calls "electronic life preservers."
The Times didn't specifically refer to itself as one of the companies requiring such a preserver, but it is expected to be featured in the introduction of the new Amazon device along with other major newspapers and magazines that are already available on the Kindle e-readers for a monthly fee.
Clearly, it's that ability to charge a fee and the potential cost savings of a paperless platform that makes digital readers so attractive to newspapers and magazines. As the Times and other have pointed out, publishers could "save millions on the cost of printing and distributing their publications, at precisely a time when their businesses are under historic levels of pressure."
But there are some inherent problems with shifting paper readers over to e-readers.… Read more
Well, I have a little follow-up on the whole issue. Apparently, someone went ahead and tabulated 700 of the responses in that Amazon thread (that represents about 75 percent of all the posts) and broke out the numbers. Here they are:0 - 19: 5% 20 - 29: 10% 30 - 39: 15% 40 - 49: 19.5% 50 - 59: 23% 60 - 69: 19.5% 70 - … Read more
If you've been curious to know what it costs to make the Kindle 2, iSuppli has dismantled Amazon's digital reader, taken stock of all its components, and come up with an estimated price tag of $185.49--or roughly half the Kindle 2's retail price of $360.
That figure doesn't include the fee Amazon pays Sprint for the Kindle 2's built-in "free" wireless service or any marketing costs, which can be substantial. So the true "actual" cost is probably significantly higher, though Amazon obviously preserves some of its margin by selling direct … Read more
With the launch of the Amazon Kindle 2 and its text-to-speech feature, a broader range of reading materials would now be available to the 15 million Americans represented by The Reading Rights Coalition, a group which defends the rights of those who cannot read printed words because of blindness, dyslexia, spinal cord injury, or other disabilities. However, The Authors Guild is looking add a hoop or two for people with print disabilities to jump through .
As previously written by my colleague Greg Sandoval, "the retailer, which makes the popular Kindle electronic-book reader, announced late Friday that the company is modifying systems to allow authors and publishers to decide whether to enable Kindle's text-to-speech function on a per-title basis."
According to The Reading Rights Coalition: "The Guild has told them that in order to read their books with text-to-speech they must either submit to a burdensome special registration system and prove their disabilities--or pay extra. The Guild's position is contrary to the principle of equal opportunity for all and discriminates against millions of people with print disabilities. The Guild's position is outrageous and discriminates against the millions of people with print disabilities who are eager to be their readers and customers."… Read more
Wired's Gadget Lab blog has a story about how a group of about 250 Kindle owners are staging an online protest over Kindle e-books that cost more than $9.99. The weapon they're using is Amazon's own tagging system, as price offenders are getting hit with a special "9 99 boycott" tag.
The roving--and most likely growing--band of annoyed Kindle owners includes such folks as Connecticut librarian Crystal O'Brien, who spends "a few minutes every day in the Kindle book store tagging the more expensive digital books with the '9 99 boycott' tag … Read more
Calibre is a cross-platform, open-source library for your e-books that can also sync them to your e-book reader. Available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, it offers a massive range of individual book customizations, as well as format conversion and newspaper-style RSS feed grabbing, but lacks a slick interface that would go a long way toward convincing skeptics that it's a powerful tool.
The number of things that Calibre can do for your digital book collection is stunning. You can view books in a basic spreadsheet layout or with an adaptation of Apple's Cover Flow. Cover Flow here lacks a default image, and the sudden white rectangle where the book cover should be is jarring. It can be toggled with the big, white arrow icon in the bottom-right corner of the main window--an equally awkward placement. … Read more
Amazon released a firmware upgrade on Thursday night that fixes some minor glitches with the Kindle 2. Some blogs are calling the release the first firmware upgrade for Amazon's latest e-book reader, but it's actually the second.
Contrary to some reports, this version (2.02) has nothing to do with the text-to-speech option that publishers were upset about; that was addressed in the 2.01 release. Rather, this upgrade appears to center on page refreshes and some ghosting issues.