Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bezos defends dedicated e-readers

26.05.10  The Bookseller

Amazon c.e.o. Jeff Bezos has said a colour e-ink reader is "still some ways out" but reaffirmed his company's commitment to selling a dedicated e-book reading device. The Seattle Times reports that Bezos, speaking at Amazon's annual shareholder meeting in the US city yesterday (25th May), said serious readers would want a purpose-built device because "it's an important activity to them". He added: "The Kindle is all about reading."

This contrasts directly with findings from a survey, published yesterday on The Bookseller's digital blog Futurebook, which suggested consumers were far more likely to buy multi-functional devices.

While roughly a quarter of people had heard of the Kindle, 60% had heard of the iPad and 73% of the iPhone. The article said: "It should not go unnoticed that all these devices' primary function is not book reading. And the driver for the iPad for most customers, as sexy and appealing it is for books, will not be because of the iBookstore, it is its multi-functionality."

However, Bezos stressed the benefits of the Kindle over Apple's iPad: it has a longer battery life, weighs less and is easier to read in sunlight. However, he said making e-ink displays show colour was "technically very difficult".

He said: "There are several things in the laboratory, but they're not quite ready for prime-time production."

Amazon has sold "millions" of Kindles since they first went on sale in late 2007, Bezos claimed.

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