Former leading New Zealand publisher and bookseller, and widely experienced judge of both the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Montana New Zealand Book Awards, talks about what he is currently reading, what impresses him and what doesn't, along with chat about the international English language book scene, and links to sites of interest to booklovers.
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Kindle. Or Kindling? by Liz Gunnison Aug 5 2008 Amazon’s Kindle is a game-changer alright. Too bad there's so little to win.
Since the Kindle was launched last November it has been the subject of careful dissection, review, and speculation by countless blogs and news outlets, sparking one of techland's all too frequent debates: is Amazon's new e-reader a game-changer? More pressing than whether the answer is 'yes' or 'no' is why we're even talking about it in the first place. The game in question is reading, after all –not exactly a growth industry, as Simon & Schuster and Random House will tell you.
While Amazon has yet to provide official sales figures, TechCrunch has a source saying that the online retailer has sold 240,000 of the e-readers in their first eight months on sale, for a total of almost $100 million in revenue.It’s not difficult to imagine that thanks to its aggressive Kindle marketing push (such as prime advertising space in the middle of Amazon's homepage), those 240,000 units represent a good portion of the total market for the device out there.Consider that the literate population of the United States is about 270 million, and that according to a 2007 AP-Ipsos survey, one in four people didn't read a single book in the past year. Of those who did read books, the average consumption was seven per year – too few by a long shot to warrant buying a pricey e-reader device.